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Embryology

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 9 December (WA 76-7), how the policy whereby the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority "does not comment on the involvement of individual members of staff in the course of the normal discharge of their duties on behalf of the authority" relates to each of its press releases on 24 July 2003, 2 July 2008 and 11 January 2010.

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 9 December (WA 76-7) and 20 December (WA 247), why Dr Christine Mary O'Toole's name had been deliberately obscured in the copy of the minutes that were placed in the Library of the House pertaining to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Research Licence Committee Meeting on 16 March 2005; whether her name and those of other personnel were already masked when the minutes for this meeting were originally published on the HFEA website; whether any of the personnel whose identity has latterly been withheld continues to be employed by the HFEA; and what are the HFEA's reasons for withholding the identity of its current or former full-time employees but not those of other attendees at a meeting of the Authority.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

In determining whether to make public the name of an official, it is the convention that staff below senior civil service or equivalent level and those whose names are not already within the public domain are not released. As an independent statutory body, these are matters for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority itself to determine. I have nothing further to add on this matter.

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