Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hybrids bill: no free vote, but abstentions allowed

Update: Brown caves in: free vote allowed. See the BBC.

Some Catholic Labour MPs who oppose the UK government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill may have rejected an offer to let them to abstain from voting and, instead, they want to vote against the measure. Mr Greg Pope, MP for Hyndburn, said "I have had hundreds of letters from constituents about human-animal hybrids. The idea that I turn round to them and say the chief whip has given me the day off from voting will cut no ice at all." [Telegraph, 8 March, and Daily Mail, 10 March] Mr Gordon Brown, prime minister, has stated that the bill is Government business, and any individual with a particular issue should discuss it with the chief whip.

Action 08/03/08: keep on lobbying your MPs. They must vote AGAINST this appalling bill.

From SPUC: MPs from the UK's Labour party will be allowed to abstain over their government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill. Mr Geoff Hoon MP, Labour chief whip, said MPs would be allowed to absent themselves rather than vote for the bill. He also argued that support for the medical research promoted by the bill was matter of conscience too. [Yorkshire Post, 7 March] More than 100 academics have called for a free vote. Signatories to a letter to the Times include Professor David Albert Jones, professor of bioethics at St Mary's University College, Middlesex, and Professor John Finnis, professor of law and legal philosophy at Oxford University. [Times, 7 March] SPUC is urging supporters and pro-life MPs to focus on opposing the unethical content of the bill. The question of allowing abstention or free votes is a fine point and should not obscure the wholly immoral nature of the bill.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen