The Parliamentary Debates

  • Rebecca Dimond
  • Neil Stephens


Parliamentary debates took place in the House of Commons and House of Lords in February 2015, when each House voted overwhelmingly in support of legalising mitochondrial donation. In this chapter we explore key sites of contestation as revealed in these parliamentary exchanges: patient-families; slippery slopes and three parent babies; and genetic and germline modification. UK biomedical politics was enacted as ethically sound and world leading by those supporting legalisation, whereas those who opposed were required to defend personal and professional allegiances through careful negotiation of ‘in principle’ arguments. To conclude, we draw on stakeholder accounts to explore responses to the vote, in which members of each cluster reflect on their personal and professional labour in securing—or contesting—the result.


Parliamentary debates Opposing ‘in principle’ Rhetoric of hope Mitochondrial donation Sociotechnical imaginary 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Social and Political SciencesBrunel University LondonLondonUK

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