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22 Oct 2008 : Column 386

The safety of using the techniques has not yet been established. They would need to be assessed carefully before being deployed as options for patients in treatment. The regulating power would allow for that consideration through a full consultation, to gather the views of the public, ethicists and relevant stakeholders on the appropriate use of using donor eggs for that purpose. For example, as some hon. Members have pointed out today, and as has been raised in the House before, there would need to be consideration about the status of the egg donor if donations from which only the mitochondria is used were made.

In addition to the public consultation, we believe that Parliament should not be asked to decide on this issue now, for precisely the reasons that have been mentioned: the facts should be before Parliament before it makes a decision. It should be asked to take the decision only when all the facts are clearly available.

Amendment No. 41 seeks to limit the regulating powers so that embryos or eggs that have undergone cell nuclear replacement could not be permitted for use in treatment. Following debate in another place and in this House, the Government carefully considered the drafting of proposed new section 3ZA of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, and whether it needed to be amended.

After careful consideration, the Government’s view is that the drafting is clear and does not require amendment. The precise process by which mitochondrial diseases may be treated is not yet clear, and amendment to the regulating powers would inadvertently risk and reduce the scope and the process for treatments to be allowed. Secondly, the regulation-making power is limited to the treatment of mitochondrial diseases only. Thirdly, the regulations would be subject to considerable public consultation and then to debate in Parliament. That would enable all the concerns to be raised. In taking that forward, the Government are balancing the need to have the facts before taking decisions with the recognition that the power is about helping couples conceive a child that is genetically theirs, but without the fatally flawed mitochondria that affect the maternal line. That is the balance that we are trying to strike; we have left things open for further consideration. That is why we are proceeding as we are.

Mr. Drew: I hear what my right hon. Friend says, but does she understand the concerns that some of us have? We are being asked to trust the Government, and, more particularly, to think that any future regulation, over which we would have no control through primary legislation, will be fit for purpose. In the context of these issues, that is quite a leap of faith.

Dawn Primarolo: I am asking my hon. Friend to think about being involved in the consultation, participating in the public debate and improving the draft regulations if and when they come forward. He should then fully participate in an affirmative resolution debate in the House before the regulations are passed. I am asking hon. Members to think—and that is a reasonable thing to do.

Amendment No. 49 seeks to limit the regulating power so that only embryos or eggs that have been subjected to processes to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial diseases through cytoplasm could be
22 Oct 2008 : Column 387
permitted for use in the treatment. I absolutely understand and appreciate the intention behind it. I have to say, however, that the amendment is ambiguous—a point that has been touched on in the debate. Everything in a cell could be considered to be cytoplasm, including the mitochondria and the nucleus, and restricting regulating powers to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial diseases via the cytoplasm would not necessarily achieve the aim of excluding transmission via the cell’s nucleus. For that reason, there was no need to put the amendment before the House.

5.45 pm

There are other more appropriate ways in which mitochondrial disease transmitted via a cell’s nucleus could be treated. We are looking specifically, through pre-implantation, at genetic diagnosis of the embryo. On that basis, I hope that the hon. Member for Southport (Dr. Pugh) will accept that we are attempting to strike the right balance, while leaving open the final decisions until the information is available and this House has taken a final view, following consultation.

Amendment No. 73 would prevent any research from being undertaken in the UK the purpose of which is to develop techniques of germ-line genetic modification. It would have the effect of prohibiting research projects from being licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority where the purpose of the research was to develop techniques for the genetic modification of human embryos. In addition, the amendment would restrict the regulation-making power to prevent the research. We are not aware of any researcher who would want to undertake such research, particularly in the light of the international agreements in place to prevent such activities from being applied for reproductive purposes. The Bill clearly sets out a prohibition on the reproductive application of such practices, and any research licensed by the HFEA would also need to satisfy the criteria that the use of embryos was necessary for the research, and that the research was necessary or desirable.

Amendment No. 50 and new clause 24 would introduce a regulating power that requires the Secretary of State to make it an offence to place human gametes in an animal. The Bill does not change the legal position achieved by the 1990 Act, which made no prohibition on the artificial insemination of an animal with human sperm. Such a prohibition was believed unnecessary at the time because of the inability for humans and animals to produce offspring successfully. Equally, the 1990 Act legislated on the creation of human embryos in vitro and on reproductive services. The subject matter was very different from that of the artificial insemination of animals. Since 1990, our knowledge of the ability of humans and animals to procreate has not changed, and there is still no published evidence to suggest that any insemination of an animal with human sperm, whether as part of a scientific study or not, has resulted in pregnancy. Members touched on the regulations that exist and support the legislation in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Government believe that the combination of the existing legislation in this area is sufficient, and we are not aware of any developments that require revision of that position.

Amendments Nos. 51 and 52 relate to the regulation-making powers in the Bill to extend and alter its definition of embryo, eggs, sperm, gametes and human admixed
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embryos. They provide that those powers can be used by the Secretary of State only on condition that they are necessary and desirable. It is important that hon. Members understand exactly how that would interact with the rest of the Bill.

Amendment No. 47 has been substantially debated this afternoon with regard to a definition of human admixed embryos that include a catch-all category. That category refers to an embryo containing both human and animal DNA in which the DNA of the animal does not predominate. In other words, those embryos are more human than animal. I touched on the conditions under which a licence would have to be sought in an earlier intervention.

Amendment No. 47 refers to embryos containing human and animal cells created by a process of tetraploid complementation. In the type of embryo created by the process to which the amendment refers, the cells of an early animal embryo are altered, so that they contain twice the usual complement of DNA. Such cells are destined to give rise to only extra-embryonic tissue. When placed with those altered animal cells, human cells would give rise to the embryo proper, because the animal cells are capable of forming only extra-embryonic cells. The implantation of the embryo created in that way is therefore prohibited by the Bill.

Amendment No. 47 seeks to add a further category to the existing categories. Hon. Members have talked about their fear of a loophole that needs to be closed. In looking at the range of issues that have been raised, the Government believe that the embryo created by the process that I have described should be considered as a human admixed embryo, which is regulated under the definition in proposed new section 4A(6)(e) of the 1990 Act, so there is no loophole.

In conclusion, let me return to the point about cloning. The Government are absolutely clear that we are committed to banning human reproductive cloning, and the Bill continues to provide for that.

Mr. Devine: Will my right hon. Friend place it on record that the Bill has nothing to do with Stalinist or Nazi tests, which is what we heard from the Opposition earlier?

Dawn Primarolo: Hon. Members know that the Bill is about helping the one in seven couples who need assistance with their fertility. It is about research to deal with the dreadful diseases and the debilitating attacks on their health from which many in our society suffer. The Bill is about combining science with an ethical framework that works on behalf of humankind, and I think that the House knows that.

The provisions of the Bill continue to prohibit reproductive cloning and retain the existing penalty of up to 10 years in prison for anyone attempting reproductive cloning. I say this to all hon. Members, whatever their fears: please be reassured that the penalty is there. The prohibition continues. The Bill contains specific powers to allow the House to return, when the information is there and the consultation has been completed, in order to be clear about whether we would permit any further expansion in that area of research.

We have had a long and extremely important debate. Much of the ground has been covered in previous debates. It is always important to clarify the Government’s intentions. Every Member of the House has a free vote
22 Oct 2008 : Column 389
tonight. I urge them to support the Bill and to reject the amendments, as the best way forward to ensure that science prevails in an ethical framework that is acceptable to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 215, Noes 299.
Division No. 284]
[5.55 pm


Alexander, Danny
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Baker, Norman
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benton, Mr. Joe
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, rh Des
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Cash, Mr. William
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clegg, rh Mr. Nick
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Cooper, Rosie
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Dobbin, Jim
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Drew, Mr. David
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Durkan, Mark
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Field, Mr. Mark
Flello, Mr. Robert
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Grogan, Mr. John
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harris, Dr. Evan
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hillier, Meg
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Hosie, Stewart
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howell, John
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jones, Mr. David
Jones, Helen
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David

Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, rh David
MacNeil, Mr. Angus
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Mason, John
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCrea, Dr. William
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McDonnell, John
McFall, rh John
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McKenna, Rosemary
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Owen, Albert
Paisley, rh Rev. Ian
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, Mr. Alan
Reid, rh John
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simpson, Alan
Simpson, David
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Twigg, Derek
Walker, Mr. Charles
Walter, Mr. Robert
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Tellers for the Ayes:

Ann Winterton and
Mrs. Nadine Dorries

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baldry, Tony
Balls, rh Ed
Barker, Gregory
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Bercow, John
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen

Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Butterfill, Sir John
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clelland, Mr. David
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Curry, rh Mr. David
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, Mr. Edward
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Greening, Justine
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hammond, Stephen
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Hendry, Charles
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Key, Robert
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lammy, Mr. David
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Maples, Mr. John
Marris, Rob

Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penrose, John
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Shapps, Grant
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Ussher, Kitty
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Noes:

Claire Ward and
Steve McCabe
Question accordingly negatived.
22 Oct 2008 : Column 390

22 Oct 2008 : Column 391

22 Oct 2008 : Column 392

It being after Six o’clock, Mr. Speaker then proceeded to put the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour, pursuant to Order [this day].

22 Oct 2008 : Column 393

Amendment proposed: No. 41, page 3, line 26 , at end insert—

‘(5A) Regulations made under subsection (5) may not provide for an egg or embryo whose nuclear genetic material has been altered by genetic modification, or whose nucleus has been replaced by the nucleus of a somatic cell, to be a permitted egg or a permitted embryo.

(5B) In this section, “genetic modification” includes the alteration of the nuclear genetic material of an egg or embryo by—

(a) recombinant nucleic acid techniques which change the DNA sequence of nuclear chromosomes of the egg or one or more cells of the embryo, or

(b) the introduction into the egg or into one or more cells of the embryo of a stably-maintained artificial chromosome, virus or plasmid.’.— [Mr. Drew.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—
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