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What our politicians are doing about creationism

Details of responses of MPs and other politicians to our campaigns.


The Council of Europe opposes creationism

The Council of Europe passed a resolution on 4th October 2007 calling on member states to take heed of the dangers posed by creationism to the scientific and educational bodies in the respective countries. Full details of the debate are available online. The BCSE is mentioned under the Full Report's section on the UK.


UK government issues guidelines to schools

As a consequence of pressure from the media, and public and professional organisations, the Labour government issued an advisory to schools on creationism. An e-mail headed "Latest news and publications 25 September 2007" was sent out on the evening of 25th September 2007 to school governors. The government release can be downloaded from their website.

A governor, who is also a BCSE member, forwarded it on to the BCSE leadership. A press release was compiled by the BCSE and sent to professional bodies and the national media on 27th September. It immediately captured the attention of the media. We received a telephone inquiry from The Times, the Guardian's James Randerson publicised the release, as did the National Secular Society and the Daily Telegraph


Early Day Motion

This Eary Day Motion was tabled in Parliament on 11th October 2006 by Graham Stringer MP (Labour, Manchester Blackley). It is in direct response to our current campaign against Truth in Science.

Stringer, Graham That this House shares the concerns of the British Centre for Science Education that the literature being sent to every school in the United Kingdom by the creationist religious group Truth in Science is full of scientific mistakes and fails to disclose the group's creationist beliefs and objectives; and urges all schools to treat this literature with extreme caution.

The list of MPs that have signed the motion is as follows:

Stringer, Graham (proposer)

Dismore, Andrew (Labour, Hendon)

Gibson, Ian (Labour, Norwich North)

Drew, David (Labour, Stroud)

McDonnell, John (Labour, Hayes and Harlington)

Jones, Lynne (Labour, Birmingham Selly Oak)

Simpson, Alan (Labour, Nottingham South)

Caton, Martin (Labour, Gower)

Bottomley, Peter (Conservative, Worthing West)

Spink, Bob (Conservative. Castle Point)

Holmes, Paul (Liberal Democrat, Chesterfield)

Cryer, Ann (Labour, Keighley)

Francis, Hywel (Labour, Aberavon)

Leech, John (Liberal Democrat, Manchester Withington)

Hopkins, Kelvin (Labour, Luton North)

Iddon, Brian (Labour, Bolton South East)

Llwyd, Elfyn (Plaid Cymru, Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

Turner, Desmond (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)

Clark, Katy (Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran)

Mahmood, Khalid (Labour, Birmingham Perry Barr)

Dobbin, Jim (Labour, Heywood and Middleton)

Vis, Rudi (Labour, Finchley and Golders Green)

Willis, Phil (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)

Marris, Rob (Labour, Wolverhampton South West)

McCafferty, Chris (Labour, Calder Valley)

Rowen, Paul (Liberal Democrat, Rochdale)

It can be found at http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=31313&SESSION=875.

An Early Day Motion, or EDM, is a motion put down ("tabled") by Members of Parliament calling for a debate on a particular subject. In practice, there is rarely time to debate EDMs nowadays and their true modern-day purpose is to enable MPs to draw attention to an issue and to canvass support for their views by inviting other Members to add their signatures in support of the motion. Members may table amendments to existing EDMs. The House of Commons Factsheet Series P no 3 on Early Day Motions, which is available for downloading in PDF format, gives more information about EDMs

According to one of our members, EDMs rarely come to the house for debate, but they do provide an indication to parliament of what is concerning backbenchers at any particular time, and may inform bills that do come to parliament. I suppose they are really much like petitions. My experience (with the local Amnesty Group) has been to watch out for relevant EDMs, and then write to our local MP urging him to sign it/them. It may be worthwhile noting who has signed this one, and then asking others to join them. The more signatories there are, the more likely an EDM is to impinge upon the cabinet consciousness. Finding out which EDMs your own MP has signed can give a good indication of where his/her interests lie.

NB Members with cabinet positions or ministerial rank are not generally permitted to sign EDMs, as they are supposed to follow the party line (cabinet responsibility, or 'Shut Up And Do As You're Told If You Want To Keep Your Job).


Position of MPs on Creationism

See above as to who has signed the EDM. This section is for replies by MPs and other politicians to our campaign.


Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology

There is a web site for this committee. BCSE members and the public at large are encouraged to write to the committee to voice concern and ask what action is being considered. In particular we believe that it will be exceedingly useful to draw attention to the fact that creationism may have a seriously adverse effect on such major economic growth areas and employment opportunities as biotechnology.

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