Baroness Hayman of Ullock Portrait Baroness Hayman of Ullock (Lab)
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Just to come back on that, proposed new subsection (4) in my amendment says:

“The Secretary of State may, by regulations, amend the dates listed in subsection (2)”—

the dates I read out—

“if the requirement under subsection (3)”,

which is the evidence condition the noble Lord is talking about,

“is met before the dates”.

There is flexibility in the amendment to bring those dates forward if that scientific evidence is there.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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My Lords, I will intervene briefly on a point of information. I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, has helped his cause, although he is very knowledgeable in this area and I pay tribute to him in that regard, in mentioning that a particular academic is not deemed to be at the centre of gravity on these issues. Who are we to judge? This is a fast-moving and complicated field. We are leaving what has been a highly regulated area, where our farm products have moved very freely between here and the European Union; if we go down this path of very light regulation in the Bill, how do we know that the EU will accept our food products? I shall listen very carefully to my noble friend’s response, in particular to the amendments from the Opposition Front Bench.

I feel that there is an uneasiness and lack of understanding among the public about this, which I share. I am in awe of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh; it is my alma mater, although I studied law rather than science or veterinary science. I realise that cloning is different, but the very fact that we do not seem to be going down that path, which was first brought up with Dolly the sheep, raises issues. I am very uneasy about moving to light-touch regulation when the science is not at one on this issue.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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If I could just interrupt the noble Baroness, I think it is wrong to bring up Dolly the sheep in this conversation, because this has nothing to do with cloning. It is a completely different technology.

While I am on my feet, I will respond to her point about how we know where the centre of gravity of scientific opinion is, who is to judge it and whether it will change. I appreciate her kind words about me; I am a scientist but I am no expert in genetics or gene editing. However, I know from my general experience of a lifetime as a scientific researcher that, when there is a centre of gravity of opinion, there are always outliers. Sometimes those outliers turn out to be right and there are transformations, but I have seen no evidence at this stage that the outliers are right and the centre of gravity is about to shift. That is all I want to say.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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I have nearly finished my remarks. I have some sympathy with the amendments from the Front Bench opposite and would like to hear a very good reason why my noble friend may be minded not to support them.

Lord Winston Portrait Lord Winston (Lab)
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My Lords, I remind my noble friend Lord Krebs—and I call him my friend because I have huge respect for him as a scientist, a Peer and a contributor to the House—that one of the great outliers was Dr Oppenheimer at the time of the Manhattan Project, who afterwards recognised what had been released as a result of that. We know very well that every single piece of technology that humans have ever produced has a downside we do not expect, and do not recognise and predict at the time. I would argue that this is one of those examples of a technology, which we have a duty, as a House in Parliament, to examine extremely carefully. I am not sure we have done that yet, and I am not sure how we can do it very well.