This second vote on an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill went as follows:
"Amendment proposed: No. 10, in page 4, line 14, at end insert—
‘(4A) A licence cannot authorise the creation of an embryo using—
(a) human gametes and animal gametes, or
(b) one human pronucleus and one animal pronucleus.’.—[Mark Simmonds.]
Question put, That the amendment be made:—
The Committee divided: Ayes 223, Noes 286."According to the news reporters of the BBC, the vote went as follows:
"A cross-party attempt to ban hybrid human animal embryos was defeated on a free vote, by 336 to 176."
Although I am no scientist, this, as I have stated before, is a matter that concerns me greatly; and the 50 or so additional MPs who voted for this second amendment are to be commended on their vigilance and diligence. For a shameful debate was conducted with elements of blackmail in which MPs, many as unscientific as myself, were assured that medical progress would be halted if they objected.
It appears quite clear to me that the majority of the 286 MPs who voted against this second amendment were in ignorance of what they voted on; they followed their leaders as sheep. I exclude the likes of Dr Harris, who, it is clear to me, is well aware of his intentions and would undertake any venture to obstruct religious endeavours and advance the cause of unbridled science. For it does indeed allow the creation of chimaeras, of all manner of bizarre creatures, that may enjoy a short span of life in the laboratory until liberated by some accident or some scientist whose curiousity exceeds the law and wishes to examine in greater detail its progress.
I would not have wished to have been the minister to have sought to explain such matters to our Queen, a lady who desired simplicity of explanation and a sound Christian morality.