Embryo bill: David Cameron voted for human-animal hybrids over disabled son
David Cameron has said that the suffering of his disabled son Ivan was behind his decision to support controversial new laws to allow the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos.
The Conservative leader said he believed it was vital for medical research to be allowed using stem cells derived from the new hybrid embryos.
Earlier this week, MPs voted to back new legislation allowing the creation of the embryos despite widespread religious and ethical concerns. MPs were allowed to vote in line with their consciences and Mr Cameron was among only a relatively small number of Conservatives backing the measure.
In an interview with GMTV on Tuesday, he disclosed that his personal experience of caring for a disabled child was behind his decision.
“If you think of the people you see on television with Motor Neurone disease and terrible diseases like that, we have got to do more to try and crack those diseases,” he said.
“I have a son with epilepsy and cerebral palsy and when I look at how he suffers and I think if you could do anything to stop him suffering and stop other children suffering, shouldn’t we try?
“When we look at these what are called animal human hybrid embryos, it is not some Frankenstein monster we are creating, it is about taking an egg from a cow and injecting a bit of human DNA, keeping it for only 14 days, it is not going to be implanted into anybody.”
The interview is the latest example of Mr Cameron using his experiences with his children and family to justify his policy decisions. The Conservative leader believes discussing his children is crucial to voters understanding his political views.
In contrast, Gordon Brown has been reticent about discussing his children. The Prime Minister is also a strong supporter of the new human-animal embryo laws and he too has a son who suffers from cystic fibrosis.
Although he wrote an article at the weekend setting out his support for the legislation it did not mention his own experiences. However, friends of the Prime Minister have let it be known that his son’s condition was a contributory factor.
The new legislation has been welcomed by the scientific community who hope that the research will help provide cures for genetic conditions including motor neurone disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said this week’s vote would keep Britain at the cutting edge of embryo research.
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