Glasgow East by-election winner opposes Human Fertilisation & Embryology bill

22 Oct 2008

The winner of the Glasgow East by-election, John Mason MP, has spoken in the House of Commons debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill this evening (Wednesday 22 October). The East End parliamentarian, who is opposed to the HFE bill, spoke in support of amendment 41, a measure which sought to introduce a definitive ban on human reproductive cloning into the legislation.

Amendment 41 was defeated after a division of the House. The final vote on the third reading of the HFE bill will be taken later this evening.

Speaking from London after the defeat of amendment 41, Mr Mason said: “In some key respects the HFE bill reverses some of the key provisions of 2001’s reproductive cloning legislation. There were many things which that law did not do, but at least it did this one thing. It gave assurance to that no clone baby would be born in the United Kingdom. Now less than ten years later, this statutory ban is being repealed in clause 3 of the HFE bill.

“Amongst the most concerning aspects of the HFE bill is the creation of part animal, part human embryos – hybrid embryos. We were told that these are purely for necessary medical research, and would never be implanted into a woman, or into an animal. The idea that a part animal, part human could ever be born is dismissed as scaremongering. And yet less than ten years ago the very same things were said about cloning children. We were told that this would never happen, that there was a clear, tight, exceptionless law. But with this HFE bill the exceptions are beginning and cloning a child has taken a huge step forward.

“People want to support science but they also want scientists to be responsible. They want to know there are limits and lines that will not be crossed. If the HFE bill is passed into law then the public will receive no guarantees on many of the important questions.”