Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Dec 2009 : Column 1389

The hon. Member for North-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Moss) raised several things. He mentioned the EU auditors and the UK's net contribution to the European Union. As I am sure he will know, the level of UK contribution varies each year according to several different elements, including our rate of economic growth relative to those of other member states, the value of the abatement, the pound-euro exchange rate, the size of the in-year EC budget and the level of our receipts from that budget. It is a fairly complex set of figures.

I agree with him completely on the common agricultural policy. I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Kelvin Hopkins) that it should be completely abolished. If there were no common policy, there would simply be a French agricultural policy, an Italian one, a German one, a Spanish one and so on, which would be considerably worse. However, I do believe that the CAP should be significantly reformed. We would like CAP pillar 1 to be phased out, which we believe would also help less prosperous member states grow their economies in line with the Lisbon strategy.

I hope that I am not breaking a confidence by saying that my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) said outside the Chamber that I had made a wonderful speech.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: It was inside.

Chris Bryant: It did not feel as if he was saying it inside. It was couched in so much irony-

Mr. Mitchell rose-

Chris Bryant: If my hon. Friend does not mind, I will not give way to him, unless it is to compliment me- [ Interruption. ] Oh, all right.

Mr. Mitchell: I said that it was a shame that such great ability and eloquence were not deployed in a better cause.

Chris Bryant: As I said, my hon. Friend's opinion was so couched in irony and sarcasm that it somehow ended up sounding like exactly the opposite.

The hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans), who has changed his seat but is none the less still here, referred to burden sharing in Afghanistan. We believe that that is important. We were pleased with the discussions at the October Council meeting and its conclusions, which made it clear that all member states must step up to the mark in terms of national caveats, number of troops and where they are prepared to engage. He is absolutely right that we need to make an effort, and not just within the European Union. I am sure that there will be further discussion, whether in the margins or during the meeting next week.

My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North said that he believed in a pragmatic approach to Europe. I agree completely and utterly. His, however, is the theological approach, and I disagree with his analysis of what he always refers to as a neo-liberal model of economics. I remember him sitting next to me on many occasions and confidently predicting that the Germans would leave the euro within two years, but that does not seem to have happened.

3 Dec 2009 : Column 1390

The hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr. Goodwill) made one of the most thoughtful contributions. I am not damning him with faint praise; it was a good speech, to which he obviously brought a lot of his experience of the European Union. As somebody who has worked for the BBC in Brussels and with the European Parliament to try to ensure that it produces policies that are good for Britain, I know something about how the Parliament works. He is completely wrong about the Conservative grouping in the European Parliament. In my experience, many members of the European People's Party are actively vindictive towards the European Conservatives and Reformists because they are angry at how the hon. Gentleman's party political leader has advanced their cause over the past couple of years. When he says that it is great that the Canada and Iraq groups are chaired by a Tory, he is clutching at straws.

The hon. Gentleman used a phrase that I think some countries in the east find offensive by saying that they were suddenly frightened of being dominated by Brussels as they were dominated by Moscow. They take great exception when some Conservatives use that line. However, I agree completely about the caravanserai to Strasbourg. I only wish that his party was prepared to accept qualified majority voting on the issue so that we could get rid of the present ludicrous situation.

I hope that I can answer the questions raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Ms Stuart). She is right about the passerelle clause. I do not think that it makes any difference whether Parliament votes after a one-and-a-half-hour debate or passes a piece of primary legislation. The point is that Parliament should take a view. She asked about the rules of procedure, and I want to correct her on one point: the Council of Ministers was an institution before the Lisbon treaty came into force; it is the European Council that now becomes an institution. [ Interruption. ] Well, as she knows, they are two different bodies.

I think that all-

6 pm

Motion lapsed (Standing Order No. 9(3)).

Business without Debate

regional select committee (london)

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.

sittings of the House

Motion made,

3 Dec 2009 : Column 1391

Hon. Members: Object.


Badman Report (West Chelmsford)

6.1 pm

Mr. Simon Burns (West Chelmsford) (Con): I wish to present a petition to the House, organised by one of my constituents, Ms Louise Thorn, and signed by a number of persons in the West Chelmsford parliamentary constituency.

The petition states:


3 Dec 2009 : Column 1392

Give and Let Live Programme

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn. -(Mr. Frank Roy.)

6.2 pm

Mr. Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con): I thank Mr. Speaker for allowing me to speak on this topic in the Adjournment debate tonight, and I welcome the Minister from the Department of Health to her place. I declare an interest as a trustee of the Jeanette Crizzle Trust, which will feature regularly in tonight's debate.

The executive summary of my remarks is that the NHS Blood and Transplant's Give and Let Live donor education programme is a wonderful scheme, and I praise the Government for introducing it. The problem is that only 7 per cent. of schools are involved in it, and I urge the Government to do far more to promote the scheme among schools.

The longer version of my speech now follows. The Jeanette Crizzle Trust is a research organisation that has been set up to measure the success of that education programme and to establish the degree of public awareness of blood, organ, bone marrow and tissue donation. It aims to achieve those ends by conducting a series of research projects that are likely to take place over many years, including independent tracking research. The trust's aim is not to promote blood, tissue, bone marrow and organ donation itself, but to monitor the success of the Government's Give and Let Live donor education programme.

That all started in October 2005, when Mrs. Jeanette Crizzle, who was a resident of Kettering, was very sadly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. This was obviously very tragic news for her and her wonderful family: her husband Adam and her two teenage children, Emily and Nicholas. Jeanette was an English teacher at Bedford preparatory school, and she had been in the teaching profession for the best part of 30 years. In the fight to combat her condition, there was a desperate need to find a suitable donor who would enable her to undergo a bone marrow transplant. The complication in Jeanette's case was that she came from a mixed Mediterranean and English background; her mother was Greek and her father was half Italian and half English, so Jeanette was 75 per cent. Mediterranean and 25 per cent. English. It was extremely difficult to find a suitable bone marrow donor to match her heritage; in fact, it proved impossible. Very sadly, Jeanette died in October 2006.

When the Crizzle family were advised in January 2006 that it was unlikely that a suitable bone marrow donor would be found, Jeanette's husband Adam decided to give up his job, not only to care for her but to launch an international campaign to try to find a suitable donor. He started with e-mails and internet activity among his friends and acquaintances. Bedford preparatory school, where Jeanette worked, swung in behind the campaign and mobile clinics were established in Bedford, Kettering and elsewhere to try to encourage people of Mediterranean origin to become bone marrow donors. An extensive media campaign was launched and achieved terrific coverage not only in the regional media but further afield. Initiatives included publicity on London Greek Radio and attempts to tap into communities in Greece, Italy, the United States and Australia, all in a
3 Dec 2009 : Column 1393
desperate search for a suitable donor. It was a remarkable effort, reflecting Adam's positive philosophy about the dilemma in which he and his family found themselves.

The highlight of the campaign was a meeting at the Department of Health with the right hon. Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Winterton), then a Health Minister, in April 2006. At that meeting, Adam presented a report to the Minister to encourage the Government to undertake an initiative to promote the benefits of bone marrow donation in schools. The Department decided to take up the initiative, as it was in line with some of the thinking that it had been developing. The Government's positive response was confirmed in a letter from the Minister in May, and in June Adam was invited to an important meeting with the NHS Blood and Transplant service, to plan the details of how such an education initiative could be launched. That was the first of a series of many meetings that Adam has had with the service.

The important part of Adam's initiative and any debate about bone marrow donation relates to the general misconception among the population at large about how easy it is to become a bone marrow donor. Following Jeanette's leukaemia diagnosis in October 2005, it became obvious to Adam that there is a terrible misunderstanding of what is involved in being such a donor. Most people assume that it involves a major operation; in fact, it can be no different to giving blood, except that it lasts rather longer. No discomfort or pain is involved at all. I have to say to anyone thinking of becoming a donor, but put off by the thought of the procedures that they might need to go through, that it is a lot easier than most people think. If the general UK population understood that point, far more people would come forward to be donors in the first place.

That was confirmed by an exercise conducted at a school in Bedford by Mike Mallalieu, head of science, who, with Adam, undertook a presentation and two questionnaires for sixth formers at the school. Before that exercise in 2006, the first questionnaire found that 25 per cent. of the students were prepared to be a donor, and 65 per cent. were not too sure. After the presentation, when it had been made clear how easy donation was, 89 per cent. said that they were prepared to be bone marrow donors, and only 3 per cent. were not sure. Those findings so impressed the Department of Health that it has decided to take up Adam's initiative.

The statistics are startling. Most people on bone marrow registers are never required to donate their marrow at all. For example, of the 371,000 people on the Anthony Nolan Trust register, only about 300 a year are called to be donors. Indeed, there are some 273,000 donors on the British bone marrow register, which is only 1.2 per cent. of the 23 million people in this country aged between 18 and 44 who would be eligible to donate.

In January 2007, I was delighted to be able to raise this matter with the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at Prime Minister's questions. I asked him:

He replied:

Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on this campaign, which is very well known in north Northamptonshire. I well remember the meeting with the Minister that he mentioned. Does he share my concern that this problem also affects the Asian population, where, again, there is a lack of donors? Unfortunately, that has affected at least one person in my constituency.

Mr. Hollobone: I am most grateful for that helpful intervention by my hon. Friend, who is absolutely right. There are two fundamental issues: first, a shortage of donors, full stop; and secondly, a particular shortage of donors where specific ethnicity is involved.

That brings me to the launch, in September 2007, of the education programme aimed at promoting awareness of bone marrow, blood and organ donation among 14 to 16-year-old pupils in state and independent secondary schools across the UK. The programme was recommended for use in the following classes: personal, social and health education, economics, citizenship, science, and information and communication technologies; it was later extended to religious education. The resource comprised a teachers' pack and a website and includes lesson plans, activity sheets, real-life stories, debating topics, games, films and other activities. I believe that the website has won an award because it is so good.

In 2008, the Jeanette Crizzle Trust commissioned BJS Research Ltd, an independent market research company, to conduct research to assess the level of awareness of the scheme among schools. The research found that only 3 per cent. of schools had used the resource in the first year, but the vast majority said that they were likely to use it in the future. However, 77 per cent. were not aware of it. In September 2008, I am pleased to say, the Secretaries of State for Health and for Children, Schools and Families wrote a letter to head teachers in all secondary schools in England promoting the scheme. That was a wonderful initiative.

In March 2009, six months after the letter from the Secretaries of State had been sent out, the Jeanette Crizzle Trust conducted research that found that among 250 schools surveyed, 28 per cent. were aware of the letter, and 4 per cent. had a vague memory of it, but 68 per cent. had no recollection at all, or no record of its ever having been received. Of the 28 per cent. who confirmed that they had received the letter, 100 per cent. told the trust that it was not the intention of the school to implement the Give and Let Live resource in the foreseeable future. That is of course extremely disappointing given the personal intervention by the Secretaries of State.

Next Section Index Home Page