Ruth Kelly on the wrack

Limavady-born Ruth Kelly the Transport Secretary, a devout Catholic, has been put under the cosh from one quarter for being excused from voting in the final stages of the Human Fertilsation and Embryology Bill in its final stages beginning in the Commons today. Free votes allow Labour MPs to opt out from supporting the measure as throughout the Bill’s progress. The exemption will apply to three clauses, governing human admixed embryos, “saviour siblings”, and the “need for a father” during fertility treatment. Attempts to reduce abortion to below 24 weeks have been tagged on in “pro-life” amendments. A guide to the Bill is available here.
The website Cranmer, (named after the Abp of Canterbury who led the departure from Rome and was burned to death for his pains) sheds crocodile tears for Kelly’s position as a minister opposing an important government Bill and endorses the suggestion that she should consider resigning from the cabinet instead of all this ducking and diving.
The same exemption is allowed for two other cabinet ministers, Paul Murphy and Des Browne, who have served in Northern Ireland and 2 whips. There are 64 Catholic MPs.

I tried several times to get Ruth Kelly to comment on Northern Ireland but that’s another topic she steers clear of. However, she’s entitled to her conscience like everyone else.

The attempt to put the finger on her looks like a witchhunt, with unpleasant echoes of the 16th and 17 century.

  • Catholic Ruth Kelly’s embryo vote dodge provokes Cabinet fury – Daily Telegraph

    Is Ruth expressing a woman’s right not to chose or is she placing Mammon before God?

  • interested

    Witchhunt eh Brian?

    Be different if she was an evangelical prod though. Be open season then of course.

  • She must be fairly safe for the moment, with Glasgow East in the offing?

  • What wrack is Ruth Kelly on?

    I would have thought from the tone of the story that she might be on a (metaphoric) rack instead.

    Perhaps Slugger needs some editors to avoid sloppy journalism?

  • darth rumsfeld

    It’s obviously some new Opus Dei diet involving eating seaweed…

  • BLACK WRACK, n. The prickly tang, Fucus serratus.

    Have you not got a dreg for graiping wrack/wreck, Horseman?

  • ulsterfan

    For her surely this is a resigning matter.
    How in all conscience can she stay in a Government which has introduced this Bill.
    Is she washing her hands in public and by abstaining in the vote saying that she can not do anything more.
    She could of course resign from the Cabinet /Party and fight against this legislation as a backbencher.

  • Essentialist

    Ruth Kelly should resign her position. Her Catholicism is getting in the way of effective representation.