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Orders of the Day — Human Fertilisation and Embryology

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 19th December 2000.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 5:33 pm, 19th December 2000

It is perfectly obvious that scientists who have an interest—vested and otherwise—in carrying out such research will never want that avenue to be closed, but many distinguished scientists in this country, America and Europe would disagree with the view that the hon. Gentleman espouses. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson) is not sure about that, but I can assure him that many papers have been published in distinguished scientific journals that bear out that point.

We have already lived through a similar debate. In fact, I have a strong sense of déà vu; we have previously examined claims similar to those being fired at us today in connection with the justification of cloning. The previous occasion was in 1990, when the House debated the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Many promises were made, but nothing of any substance has ever materialised. On this occasion, however, a different tack will be adopted; from now on, my colleagues and I will make a point of regularly checking the claims and promises with which we are being bombarded today.