HL Deb 14 April 1999 vol 599 cc125-6WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will provide an opportunity to debate the proposals currently before them on whether human cloning should be permitted; whether this can be before they publish their own response; and if not. why not. [HL1834]

Baroness Hayman

Last December the Government received the joint Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority/Human Genetics Advisory Commission ReportCloning Issues in Reproduction, Science and Medicine. There are no proposals in the report to permit human cloning. It does, however, ask the Government to consider extending the purposes for which embryos may be used in research to include developing methods of treatment for mitochondrial diseases and therapy for diseased or damaged tissue and organs, using cloning techniques.

The report also recommends, among other things, that the current safeguards be recognised as wholly adequate to forbid human reproductive cloning in the United Kingdom, but goes on to suggest that the Government might wish to consider the possibility of introducing legislation that would explicitly ban human cloning.

The issues raised in the report require serious consideration and the Government will respond in due course. In the meantime, we understand that a debate in the House on the use of embryos in cloning procedures is to take place on Wednesday 28 April.