Although I’m back in Brussels I am following the progress of the debate on the Health and Social Care Bll going through the Commons.
In particular I’ve followed Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP’s, toxic attempts at forcing an amendment on abortion counselling.
I was delighted to learn that not only was Dorries’ amendment defeated but Labour MPs can credit themselves with their elequent opposition to the amendment.
In addition, Dorries managed to expose herself (over the course of 58 solid minutes) as misguided and out of touch. There were some points I found particularly startiling which I have reproduced below from the Guardian’s Politics Live blog:
“Dorries is still speaking. But MPs are getting restless. Frank Field, the Labour MP supporting her, rises to suggest that she would help her cause if she were to finish now.
But Dorries is still going on. She says she wants to see David Cameron about this. He was supportive, she says. He urged her to include the word “independent” in her amendment.
She says Evan Harris, the former Lib Dem MP, put pressure on Nick Clegg to oppose the amendment. She accuses Harris of “blackmailing” the prime minister. The health bill is being “held to ransom” by a former Lib Dem MP, she says.
Martin Horwood, a Lib Dem MP, makes a point of order. He asks if Dorries is allowed to accuse a former MP of blackmail. John Bercow says Dorries’s comment was not against the rule.
Dorries says the polls suggest 78% of people support her amendment. Among Lib Dem voters, support is particularly high. That might be because the Lib Dems support choice. And it might be why Harris is a “former Lib Dem MP”.
Dorries says all MPs will be answerable for the way they vote.”
Dorries’ assertion that 78% of people support her amendment cannot be taken seriously, there is not a poll I can find that suggests there is anything like this level of support.
Indeed a poll comissioned a earlier in the week by IPSOS Mori on behalf of BPAS (The British Pregnancy Advisory Service) revealed that 80% of the British public thought the government had no duty to encourage a reduction in the number of abortions and only 37% thought that women didn’t think hard enough before having an abortion.
It revealed the British public believe the decision to have an abortion is fundamentally a private matter, to be reached by the woman alone and that they’re making their own decisions pretty well at the moment.