HC Deb 19 February 1970 vol 796 cc590-1
Q4. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister how many Government Departments carry out scientific experiments on human beings; on what basis such persons are selected; and what general instructions are issued to the Departments concerned on the safeguarding of the health and wellbeing of all individuals subject to such experimentation.

The Prime Minister

Any Government Department may from time to time undertake scientific research involving human beings as subjects, in accordance with the volunteer principle referred to in my reply of 10th February. It is the responsibility of the Minister in charge of the Department concerned to ensure that there are fully adequate safeguards for the health and well-being of those taking part.—[Vol. 795, c. 324.]

Mr. Hamilton

Has my right hon. Friend had time to inquire in detail into the monstrous accusation made recently by a reverend gentleman in the Lowlands of Scotland about the Government putting to death certain old people after experimentation? Will he give a categorical denial to that, if it is necessary, because it has caused considerable unnecessary alarm amongst old people in Scotland and elsewhere?

The Prime Minister

If the case to which my hon. Friend refers is the one that I have in mind, he will be aware that my hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for Equipment told him on 30th January that these allegations are completely without foundation. I have been into the matter further since my hon. Friend tabled his Question. I am glad to say that, after very full inquiries, I can confirm that these stories are wholly untrue.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Will the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity of paying tribute to those who voluntarily submit themselves to experiments designed to ensure the safety of the nation?

The Prime Minister

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has put that question. Those who volunteer—and I emphasised in my original answer that they must be volunteers or this could not happen—deserve the highest praise from this House. That applies not only to those to whom the hon. Gentleman refers but to many others who are willing to make themselves vulnerable to various rather unpleasant diseases from the common cold upwards and who do it voluntarily for the sake of the health of their fellow citizens.

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