Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL]
Baroness Tonge (Spokesperson in the Lords, Health; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I cannot possibly support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Alton. That is not because I do not respect the noble Lord—I always have done. He used the word "repugnance" about this sort of research, but he should remember that a lot of us feel repugnance—I certainly do—at not doing research that may help people with terrible chronic illnesses that they have no way of curing. It is repugnant to me that we are denying people the chance of a better life.
The noble Lord referred to the mass manufacture and use of human embryos. I do not really think such a sentence is terribly helpful. By no stretch of the imagination could this research be termed "mass manufacture", and it is not helpful to the general public to use such words.
The noble Lord and I are founder members of the all-party group on cord blood. It is very clearly stated that we want to encourage the collection of cord blood but definitely not for exclusive research on stem cells from cord blood. We believe that all forms of research should be pursued. We cannot possibly know where research will go or whether it will be any good until we have pursued it. That is the major point—we must follow all lines in the interest of ultimately curing human diseases.