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Human Cloning

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1519-20W, on human cloning, if she will place in the Library copies of the instructions sent to the UK delegation; if she will list the (a) Departments, (b) organisations and (c) individuals (i) she consulted and who (ii) made representations to her Department; if she will place in the Library copies of any representations received; and if she will make a statement. (86126)

As I explained in my answer to the hon. Member on 10 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1519-20W, the instructions sent to the UK delegation covered a range of options for possible votes on different draft resolutions or motions. Publication of instructions to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts could be damaging to our international relations. It would not therefore be appropriate to place a copy in the Library of the House. The FCO consulted the Department of Health, which takes the lead on the issue, the Office of Science and Technology, as it then was, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Royal Society. We lobbied other governments in capitals and in New York and received a range of views in response. These discussions were held in confidence. We do not have copies of oral representations received from others. The chief executive of the British Bioindustry Association wrote to my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary on 12 October 2004, strongly supporting the UK position. Copies of this letter and my right hon. Friend’s reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

The Government’s views were set out in New York on several occasions, including in statements by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN General Assembly in October 2004 and March 2005. Copies of these statements will also be placed in the Library of the House. I will also send the hon. Member copies of the letters and statements to be placed in the Library of the House.