Evan Harris is the Liberal Democratic MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, and he is also a principal investigator in the Science and Technology Committee’s Evidence Check on homeopathy. Evan Harris completed his IPT Fellowship with GlaxoSmithKline Ltd.
So why is he leading the sceptic anti homeopathy 10.23 campaign? Evan Harris also has links to Sense About Science, which he declared to the Science and Technology Committee’s Evidence Check on homeopathy.
Phil Willis is the Liberal Democrat MP for Harrowgate an Knaresborough, and he was a Member of the Science and Technology Commission into homeopathy, and he also has links to Sense About Science,
So let’s get this straight – the Science and Technology Committee report into homeopathy and its recommendations that led to the media snow this week, and the dramatic assertion that the public have been duped since 1948 by NHS placebos masquerading as medicine, is the result of a report ratified by THREE MPs: TWO of whom were NOT EVEN PRESENT AT THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS – and ONE of the two was NOT EVEN A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE when the hearings were held, and is due to stand down at the election in May this year.
This Science and Technology Committee investigation into homeopathy was a set up and a sham from its inception to the final meeting and delivery of the report to the UK press. And there’s no “surely not” about it.
Accurately tagged Dr Death by his colleagues and the national UK newspapers for his support of embryo experiments, Pharma Rep Dr Evan Harris MP (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon) has been a tremendous public supporter of paediatrician David Southall, now struck off from the UK Medical Register for professional abuse and misconduct perpetrated against families and their children.
Many doctors, however, are unhappy about the way he carries on, claiming that he manipulates evidence and browbeats opponents…“He wants to ignore or distort the evidence to maintain his point of view. He’s unbelievable,”… “What he knows about science could be put on the back of a postage stamp”…. It is partly his tone of pious, ideological certainty that annoys his fellow MPs. Even the Liberal Democrats appear embarrassed about him….
One would imagine that a major function of a Science and Technology Committee would be the careful and polite gathering of evidence from the expert witnesses asked to come before it, and the sober reflection on and considered weighing of that evidence to arrive at a set of balanced recommendations.
Wednesday 25th November 2009
Monday 30th November 2009
Evan Harris‘s scandalous antics as a principal investigator at the hearings suggest that, in his case, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Evan Harris treated the hearings as a ribald piece of cheap theatre for the sole expression of his own biased views, effectively diverting the Science and Technology Committee from its original purpose (the examination of the Government’s reasons for maintaining homeopathy on the NHS).
The transcript of the recent impromptu speech made by Evan Harris at the 10.23 gathering of so-called ‘sceptics’ in Red Lion Square, exemplifies this perfectly.
Evan Harris entertained the crowd by quoting from the 25th November session of the Science and Technology Committee’s Evidence Check on homeopathy hearings and his questioning of Dr Peter Fisher of The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (an institution which many Liberal Democrats supported by signing EDM 1240 in 2007).
This demonstrates Evan Harris‘ total lack of impartiality, sobriety, and respect not only for Dr Fisher as a witness and a colleague, but by implication, he has also impugned the integrity of the approximately 400 other qualified medical practitioners in the UK who practice homeopathy.
Evan Harris therefore is clearly in breach of Articles 46 and 47 of the GMC’s Guidelines for Good Medical Practice, and deserves censure by the GMC.
Article 46. You must treat your colleagues fairly and with respect. You must not bully or harass them, or unfairly discriminate against them by allowing your personal views to affect adversely your professional relationship with them. You should challenge colleagues if their behaviour does not comply with this guidance.
Article 47. You must not make malicious and unfounded criticisms of colleagues that may undermine patients’ trust in the care or treatment they receive, or in the judgement of those treating them.
In addition, Evan Harris‘s ignorance of the growing clinical and scientific evidence in support of homeopathy, coupled with his enormous bias makes one wonder why a) he was ever allowed to serve on such a committee, and b) why he is the Lib Dem spokesperson on science.
Given the viciousness of Evan Harris‘s continued attacks on homeopathy, and the apparent silence of the Liberal Democrat party in the face of them, and Evan Harris‘ continuance as Lib Dem spokesperson on science, one can only assume he has the tacit support of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Make your vote count. Around 10% of the UK population have taken a homeopathic remedy in the last 12 months (that is about 6 million people making use of homeopathy, which has been part of the NHS since its inception in 1948), and they cherish this freedom of therapeutic choice within the NHS.
Make your vote count. The history of The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital speaks for itself. It is not up for grabs by people who flaunt their conflict of interest in our faces so blatantly as does Evan Harris.
Make your vote count. Evan Harris has demonstrated by his actions that he has no respect for Parliament and the institutions our our country
Make your vote count. Obviously, Evan Harris is one of those MPs who thinks he can do whatever he likes and get away with it with impunity!
Make your vote count: Evan Harris has links to Sense About Science spokesperson Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick, which he declared to the Science and Technology Committee’s Evidence Check on homeopathy
Dr Evan Harris resigned his position of Liberal Democrat health spokesman in 2003 due to the illness of his partner. Shortly afterwards he appeared in the MMR ‘Hear the Silence’ debate on Channel 5 along side Michael Fitzpatrick and Anjana Ahuja.
In February 2004 he accompanied Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer to The Lancet offices to level accusations against Andrew Wakefield. Although Evan Harris‘s accusations of unethical practices in regard to the treatment of patients were endorsed neither by The Lancet or the Sunday Times he led a debate in the House of Commons, re-introducing the accusations under protection of parliamentary privilege.
In this debate he did disclose recent hospitality from MMR defendants Aventis, but failed to acknowledge earlier hospitality from Glaxo, by that period merged with SmithKline Beecham, and also an MMR defendant. When this was brought up in BMJ Rapid Responses a defense of Evan Harris came through from a senior officer of the Health Protection Agency, Prof Brian McCloskey.
In 2006 Evan Harris was on the panel of judges for the Association of British Science Writers Awards which awarded Ben Goldacre for the second time the prize for best feature article (2005).
Evan Harris sought permission from the fees office to increase his mortgage by £67,000 to cover a deposit he paid when buying his Westminster flat and to extend the lease, thereby enhancing the value of the property.
Evan Harris, the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, told officials that he needed part of the enlarged mortgage to repay £27,000 which he had borrowed for the deposit from his parents, Brenda and Frank, a respected university professor.
That request was declined, but he was allowed to increase the mortgage to pay for the £40,000 cost of extending the lease. As a result, his claims for mortgage interest went up from £519 to £781 a month.
The MP’s application to put the cost of remortgaging on his expenses appeared to have raised concern among officials. In a memo, a senior member of the fees office wrote: “I got the impression of a man under some pressure … loan of money from his parents … he needed to pay the money back to them.”
After remortgaging, Evan Harris claimed the £1,050 legal fees and £881 surveyors’ bill on his expenses.
Three years later, in the autumn of 2008, he sold the one-bedroom flat to his parents for £350,000, at a time when property prices in the capital had collapsed as a result of the recession. Land Registry documents show that they bought the property without taking out a mortgage.
Evan Harris sold the flat to his parents for £200,000 more than he paid for it in 1997. He then bought a new flat for £730,000 a short walk away.
The MP said yesterday that the price paid by his parents was based on an estate agent’s valuation in August, shortly before the collapse of the market. Insisting that the sale abided by “best practice”, he added: “It is no secret that my parents bought the flat. All my friends know this and I told the local paper last week.”
The MP added that it would have “short-changed” the taxpayer not to have bought the lease because the value would have fallen.
During the two years running up to the sale, Evan Harris spent more than £6,600 of taxpayers’ funds doing up the apartment. He said: “I have not identified any allowances claimed which were inappropriate. I will pass over to the taxpayer any capital gain financed by allowances when I no longer need a flat for work. This means the taxpayer is no worse off and perhaps even better off as a result of the way I have used the second home allowance.
“I am very confident that I have acted entirely appropriately in terms of claims made as a Member of Parliament.”
Evan Harris said that he paid capital gains tax when he sold the flat to his parents. He added: “I have sold a second home without avoiding CGT, without benefiting a family member and without refurbishing it first.”