Willie Rennie is a Liberal Democrat MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region, and current leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. He was previously MP for Dunfermline and West Fife from 2006 until losing his seat in the 2010 general election.
Mr Rennie studied biology at Paisley College of Technology, though there is no indication that he has used this since his graduation.
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Willie Rennie voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.
Electromagnetic Radiation and Health
Mr Rennie was listed as being on the Board of Trustees of the EM Radiation Research Trust. Andy Lewis of the Quackometer looked at the EM Radiation Research Trust in 2007: http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/05/wi-fi-quackery-and-parliament.html
Willie Rennie signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.
Libel Law Reform
In December 2009, Willie Rennie signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.
The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".
In September 2011, in the context of comments by members of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland opposing same-sex marriage, Mr Rennie was quoted as saying:
- "I can't see how it is "cultural vandalism" to bring greater equality into Scottish society.
- "Under the changes the Catholic Church, nor anyone else, will not be forced to conduct a same sex marriage ceremony but if they wish to the law will no longer stop them. That's a very tolerant and fair approach to this issue."
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