Main Question or Discussion Point
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brown-softens-stance-on-cloning-to-head-off-mps-revolt-799931.html"Brown softens stance on cloning to head off MPs' revolt
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Monday, 24 March 2008
Gordon Brown is preparing a partial retreat over the Government's plans to permit more embryo research by allowing some Labour MPs to vote against the move. The Prime Minister is ready to soften his hard line on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in an attempt to head off resignations by Catholic ministers who oppose the plan to let scientists create hybrid human-animal embryos.
Under a highly unusual compromise, ministers and some Labour backbenchers could be allowed to oppose this part of the Bill – but only if the Government were confident the revolt would not kill off the proposal. The "controlled rebellion" would be managed by Labour whips, who would try to persuade opponents to abstain to reduce the prospect of a defeat. But the parliamentary arithmetic would be complicated, as the Tories and Liberal Democrats will allow their MPs a free vote.
Facing a growing Labour rebellion over his stance on the Bill, Mr Brown is keen to show some flexibility and to acknowledge that many MPs believe embryo experiments are a conscience issue. But he remains determined to secure the go-ahead for experiments which could be crucial to finding a cure for illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.
Three cabinet ministers oppose the Bill – Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary, who has hinted that he may resign over the issue, Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, and Des Browne, the Defence Secretary. The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales added to pressure on MPs to vote against the measure and urged Mr Brown to allow a free vote. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor told Sky News: "I think Catholics in politics have got to act according to their Catholic convictions, so have other Christians, so have other politicians. I don't think it should be subject to the party whip."
And then today...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mps-to-get-free-vote-on-parts-of-embryo-bill-800353.html"Labour MPs to get free vote on parts of Embryo Bill
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Labour MPs will be allowed a free vote on some controversial aspects of new embryology laws, Gordon Brown said today.
But he insisted they would be expected to support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a whole and not block its progress.
The Prime Minister had been under increasing pressure from church leaders opposed to the proposals to allow MPs to follow their consciences.
He faced a rebellion of up to 12 Catholic ministers, including three members of the Cabinet.
Setting out a compromise solution, he said: "I have always said that although I attach huge importance to this legislation - in saving lives and helping to cure and treat diseases - that we will respect the conscience of every Member of Parliament as they decide how to cast their vote in this.
Not that this will make any difference, but it does allow a minority of members to have their say.
It seems The Church frustrated at the moral decline of the UK is ever more vocal these days, but being as most people are somewhat secular in the UK - at least by a small majority - no one really takes their views that seriously. But I would be interested to find out how much influence "The Church"/state religion/theocracy has in your country and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing?
Do you think the Church has any right at all to dictate politics, or influence politics? Except of course in terms of individual members of governments personal views, which is all part of the democratic process. Should Church leaders be able, for example, to say that condoms are against the law, or abortion or ESCR, or homosexuality? Or any of the issues that have been common place in the media? With Jewish Rabbis saying that homosexuality caused Earth quakes and English Bishops saying homosexuality caused floods, are these people given too much of a voice, or is it a good thing to show how stupid there views are? Muslim Clerics burning Western flags and inciting rioting in order to protest Danish cartoons. Or actually being the government? Is this a good thing for the world, and in your neck of the woods do you think The Church has too much or too little say?
What do you think?
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