Select Committee on Science and Technology

No. 20 of Session 2006-07

21 February 2007



The Science and Technology Committee announced an inquiry into the Government's proposals for the regulation of the creation of animal/human hybrid and chimera embryos for research purposes on 10 January 2007.

The inquiry focuses upon the appropriateness of the proposals for legislation in this area as set out in the Government's recent White Paper, Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: Proposals for revised legislation (including establishment of the Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos) (CM 6989) and on the impact of these proposals upon stem cell research in the UK.

Two evidence sessions have been held in this inquiry, on Wednesday 31 January and on Monday 5 February. A final evidence session is scheduled for Wednesday 28 February when evidence will be heard from Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Public Health and Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.

On Tuesday 27 February at 9.30am the Committee will hold an informal public seminar to discuss the issues involved. The panel will consist of:

€ Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Former Bishop of Oxford, Chair, HFEA Ethics and Law Committee and former Interim Chair of the Authority;

€ Professor Sir David King, Government Chief Scientific Adviser;

€ Professor Lord Winston, Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies, Imperial College;

€ Dr David Jones, Academic Director, University College, Twickenham, and author of a recent book "The soul of the embryo"; and

€ A.N. Wilson, Author

The Seminar will take place between 9.30am - 11.30am in Committee room 16.

Please note that while the seminar is open to the public to observe, participation in the discussion will be restricted to Members of the Committee and the panellists.

For further information please call Ana Ferreira, on 020 7219 2793.

Journalists wishing to attend should also call Laura Kibby (Committee Media Officer) on 020 7219 0718.

Notes for those attending the seminar

Entrance to the seminar is via St Stephen's Entrance where attendees should present themselves so that they can be directed through security and to the appropriate Committee Room. It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes for this. Please ensure that mobile phones and pagers are turned off before entering the Committee Room.

Notes to editors:

€ Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Science and Technology Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". The Committee was appointed on 19 July 2005.

€ Two evidence sessions have been held in this inquiry: Wednesday 31 January when evidence was heard from, Dr Lyle Armstrong, Institute of Human Genetics, University of Newcastle, Professor Chris Shaw, Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, Professor Austen Smith, Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), and on Monday 5 February when evidence was heard from Human Genetics Alert, Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, Church of England, Association of Medical Research Charities, Professor Raanon Gillon, MRC, Wellcome Trust and UK Stem Cells Foundation. The final evidence session will be held on Wednesday 28 February when evidence will be heard from Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Public Health and Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer.

Membership of the Committee

Mr Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor)
Mr Robert Flello (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South)
Linda Gilroy (Lab/Co-op, Plymouth Sutton)
Dr Evan Harris (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Lab, Bolton South East)
Chris Mole (Lab, Ipswich)
Mr Brooks Newmark (Con, Braintree)
Graham Stringer (Lab, Manchester, Blackley)
Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point)
Dr Desmond Turner (Lab, Brighton Kemptown)