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Dr. Gibson: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Leigh: No. I have been told that I must allow the Minister time to reply to the debate.

What we are doing today is therefore very important. I urge the House to pause very carefully before it makes its final decision. It is quite different from what we talked about in 1990 because, for the first time, we are saying to the science community that we shall create cloned human beings--[Hon. Members: "No."] Yes, just listen. We shall create cloned human embryos which, if allowed to implant in the womb, would grow into human beings. That is what we are voting on tonight. [Interruption.] It is. There is no point hon. Members shaking their head. I have read out the scientific evidence. The whole point of the process is to create an embryo that is genetically identical to the patient so that when stem cells are grown from it, it will not be rejected by the patient.

I accept that we do not have to have a religious view on the matter. We do not have to worry about that. We do not have to talk about whether the embryo has a soul or not, but it is entirely new. Where will it all end? Have we not got a right in the House to say to the science community, "Just pause; wait; listen to the other voices"? Let us have primary legislation and do the thing right. We should not take a step that we may live to regret.

6.52 pm

Yvette Cooper: With the permission of the House, I shall reply to the debate.

We have had an excellent debate. It is perhaps the most thoughtful and considered of all that I have listened to in the House. Given the strong views that people hold and the emotive issues involved, I pay tribute to all those who have spoken in this debate and in the Adjournment debates for the respect that they have shown for opposing views.

I welcome, too, the cross-party nature of the debate. We have heard eloquent and well-argued speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the House in favour of

19 Dec 2000 : Column 260

and against the regulations, including from those involved in the 1990 Act, such as the hon. Members for Salisbury (Mr. Key) and for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire). We have heard the view of those who could be affected and whose family could be affected by the research, such as my hon. Friends the Members for Aberdeen, South (Miss Begg), for Ilford, South (Mr. Gapes) and for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart); the view of those who morally oppose the regulations, including the hon. Member for Congleton (Mrs. Winterton), my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, South (Mr. Tynan) and the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh); and the view of doctors--the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) and my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate).

It has been a powerful debate and a measured one, too, but it is clear that the science is very obvious now. The research shows that embryonic stem cells have immense potential to help us understand serious degenerative disease and to research cures or treatments, too. In particular, they offer great hope for the treatment of disease and injury where tissue is destroyed and will not repair, such as with Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, heart disease and cancer.

Hon. Members are right to say that we should not promise immediate cures. As I have said, the research could take a year, 10, 20 or 30 years. We do not know how long it will take, but it holds considerable potential. For many diseases and conditions, it holds out the only hope anywhere on the horizon.

The science is clear that embryonic stem cells hold far more potential than adult stem cells, even though work with adult cells is the holy grail for many scientists. As many eminent scientists and medics have made clear and as many hon. Members have argued, important breakthroughs in adult stem cell research may never take place without embryonic stem cell research first.

With the greatest respect, I caution hon. Members who oppose embryonic research against arguing that adult stem cell research has just as much potential as embryonic stem cell research. I understand that many hon. Members who oppose embryo research in principle are pinning their hopes on adult stem cells instead. It is legitimate to argue that embryonic stem cell research is wrong, and that therefore the only potential that we have is from adult stem cell research, but that is different from arguing that the science shows that adult stem cell research has more potential. The science does not show that. I caution hon. Members against believing that they can support all the most exciting potential breakthroughs in this area and vote against the regulations at the same time. They cannot.

The science is clear, but what is at stake today is not simply the science but the ethics. It is a debate not between ethics and science, but about the ethical framework within which scientific research should take place. That in the end is what it is about.

Dr. Fox: The Minister has said that it is perfectly legitimate for hon. Members to want adult stem cells to be used. Were we to get to the most optimistic view and were adult stem cells to show great potential, would it be the Government's intention to stop the legal use of embryonic cells?

Yvette Cooper: We have already covered that clearly in the debate. The 1990 Act clearly sets out that if there

19 Dec 2000 : Column 261

are breakthroughs in adult stem cells and if there are breakthroughs in embryonic stem cells that allow us to move to adult cell research, the embryonic stem cell research is no longer necessary. If it is no longer necessary, it will not be permitted under the Act. It will not be licensed. The Act provides those protections and constraints, and it is absolutely right that it does so.

Some hon. Members believe that all research on embryos is unjustified on principle. I respect the eloquent arguments that they have advanced to that effect. They argue that the embryos should be accorded the same respect and rights as human beings. Others argue that that is not the moral position that we should take. For example, the Warnock report said:

My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble) said that we should not argue that the ends justify the means. I agree. I would not support a utilitarian approach that says that so long as the ends are good enough, any means is justified. That is why I strongly support the constraints that are set out in the 1990 Act, which says that research can be done only up to 14 days, only where embryos are essential to the research and only where there is a proper licence. Constraints exist on human reproductive cloning, so that no research on cell nuclear replacement can take place beyond 14 days. The cells cannot be implanted in the womb. That is illegal.

It is right that those constraints are in place, but I remind the House of the strong moral case in favour of doing the research. In an earlier debate, I quoted a woman with Parkinson's disease. She said that those considering their votes on the issue

That is the choice for the House.

Watching at home with bated breath and in the Gallery are many who hope that the research will deliver the cures and treatments to turn their lives around. Many of them know that the research comes too late for them, but they are here on behalf of the next generation, hoping for the research that will allow future generations who walk in their footsteps to walk tall, freed from pain and disability. We cannot guarantee to them that the research will transform their lives, but we can tell them that we did not turn our backs on the possibility that it might.

It being Seven o'clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker put the Question, pursuant to Order [this day].

The House divided: Ayes 366, Noes 174.

Division No. 12
[7 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Blunt, Crispin
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Church, Ms Judith
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cran, James
Cranston, Ross
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Doran, Frank
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fabricant, Michael
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Healey, John
Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Keetch, Paul
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lammy, David
Lansley, Andrew
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Madel, Sir David
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Major, Rt Hon John
Mallaber, Judy
Maples, John
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Mates, Michael
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle
(B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prior, David
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce
Radice, Rt Hon Giles
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilshire, David
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Mike Hall and
Mr. David Jamieson.


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Borrow, David
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Casale, Roger
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chope, Christopher
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Cotter, Brian
Cox, Tom
Crausby, David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Dawson, Hilton
Day, Stephen
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Drew, David
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fallon, Michael
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Fox, Dr Liam
Gale, Roger
Galloway, George
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Grogan, John
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hunter, Andrew
Hurst, Alan
Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Leigh, Edward
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McAvoy, Thomas
McCrea, Dr William
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
Malins, Humfrey
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Meale, Alan
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Nicholls, Patrick
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Olner, Bill
Paisley, Rev Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickles, Eric
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Quinn, Lawrie
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robathan, Andrew
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rooney, Terry
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
St Aubyn, Nick
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Touhig, Don
Trend, Michael
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Wareing, Robert N
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve
Wells, Bowen
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)

Tellers for the Noes:

Rev. Martin Smyth and
Mr. Kevin McNamara.

Question accordingly agreed to.

19 Dec 2000 : Column 266


19 Dec 2000 : Column 267

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