Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

30 NOV 2012

Local MEP defends status quo for stem cell research

Local Conservative MEP Vicky Ford has fended off a ban on funding stem cell research across the EU.

This week the European Parliament's research committee voted on a proposed €80bn package for science, research and  innovation. The committee voted on a compromise which called to maintain the status quo on stem cell research funding in the EU. This status quo allows for projects to be financed provided that the research is compliant with the laws of the Member  states participating in the project. Hidden amongst the 3000 amendments tabled by MEPs were at least twelve amendments which would have led to an outright ban on funding vital stem cell research.

Mrs Ford explained, "In recent months I have heard from many research scientists, medics and patient groups about how the latest developments in stem cell therapies are giving real hope for those suffering from conditions as diverse as heart disease, diabetes, blindness and Parkinson's. Different countries have different views on the ethics of such research and I don't believe that the EU should over-rule individual countries on such decisions. I am delighted that the research committee voted to defend the status quo, especially given the sensitivity of this kind of research.

"One of the priorities of Horizon 2020 [the EU framework programme for research and innovation for 2014-2020] is to focus on health research for diseases which affect millions of people across the UK and the rest of Europe. We must be able to explore types of research which have the potential to make a life-changing difference to so many people."

In May this year Mrs Ford organised an event in the European Parliament on "Understanding the Science of Stem Cells", where she invited leading scientists from across Europe to educate and explain to MEPs what stem cell research is and some of the enormous potential benefits it can bring. Amongst the speakers were Prof. Austin Smith from the Wellcome Trust in Cambridge and Prof. Julie Daniels from Moorfields Eye Hospital at UCL.

Mrs. Ford explained, "This meeting was really useful as it helped build a group of MEPs from many different countries prepared to fight any ban."

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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

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