Clause 4 — Prohibitions in connection with genetic material not of human origin
Orders of the Day
William Cash (Stone, Conservative)
My hon. Friend appears quite certain of that. Fourteen days is the figure that is always given, but I have heard from other sources that it could be 12 or 16 days in certain instances. As with so many things, there are variations despite the fact that an arbitrary figure appears to have been chosen. We have a difference of opinion about that.
Earlier today, my hon. Friend Mr. Burrowes was in debate on the "Today" programme with the chairman of the Medical Research Council. The chairman was being pressed; what it boiled down to was that he accepted that there were two possible ways of dealing with the research, but instead of answering the question why one should be chosen rather than the other he simply said that it was important to pursue both and that we should not be constrained as to which we decided to use.
That is the argument to which the MRC is committed, but some of us on the Conservative Benches profoundly disagree. We believe that adult stem-cell research is a viable alternative, although no doubt more work will be needed to pursue that research. However, the same point applies to embryonic stem cell research. It seems to me that until the matter has been resolved there should be a provision in the Bill to ban embryonic research, to guarantee that we do not end up making the wrong choice.