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Keep up to date with news from the campaign and links to media coverage.
Published: 7 September 2011
The Nadine Dorries/Frank Field amendment on abortion and counselling will be considered in the Commons this evening. As Graeme Archer argued in the Daily Telegraph last weekend, there is no such thing as an independent person, in the sense of someone without prejudices, instincts, opinions and - in whatever manner - a worldview. This truth applies to relatively unvexed issues as much as unyieldingly contested ones as abortion. It may therefore be that the amendment, which in part seeks unbiased viewpoints on abortion, is questionable for this reason, and that MPs will therefore be tempted vote them down. They may go into the No lobby for other reasons, too. Field is unpopular with many Labour MPs, and Dorries so with a lot of Conservative ones. Some feel, unfairly, that she is a publicity-crazed opportunist who won’t or can’t work with other people. Others will be nervous of crossing the abortion providers and lobby groups that oppose the amendment. More still will think it prudent to follow David Cameron’s apparent about-turn. It’s not uncommon for a Minister to write with guidance to MPs before a free vote, as Ann Milton has done - but less usual for the Whips to make the most of such letters, which it’s claimed they’re doing.
But before MPs make up their minds, they may want to ask a question.