Saturday, 22 March 2008

Telegraph: Catholic Archbishop joins calls for free embryology vote

The Archbishop of Cardiff has joined leading Catholics and spoken out in criticism of Gordon Brown over his Government's controversial legislation on embryo research.

The Most Reverend Peter Smith said he has privately advised MPs, including at least one minister, to vote against certain aspects of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill when it comes before the House of Commons later this year.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Church's leader in Scotland, will use his Easter Sunday sermon to censure the Bill which he described as "monstrous" and compared to the creation of Frankenstein's monster.

He said he hopes that Catholic ministers would be prepared to resign rather than accept orders to back the legislation but, ultimately, it was a matter of individual conscience.

But today Labour MP Jim Devine, himself a Catholic, urged the Bill's critics to discuss the issue with scientists involved in stem cell research.

Mr Devine, the MP for Livingston, has also written to the Cardinal, calling on him to meet the scientists involved.

And he said he would be "happy" to set up a meeting between the leading Catholic and Dr Stephen Minger, the director of the stem cell biology laboratory at King's College London. Read more
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