Labour has lost the Glasgow East by-election to a pro-life candidate who openly criticised the Government’s controversial embryos Bill.
The winner, John Mason of the SNP, opposes abortion on demand and so-called “social abortion”. He is “extremely uncomfortable” with embryo experimentation.
During his victory speech he said, “I would like to thank all those who have prayed for me during this campaign.”
Labour’s candidate, Margaret Curran, supported Gordon Brown’s embryos Bill which allows for animal-human embryos and ‘saviour siblings’.
The Bill also removes the requirement for doctors to consider a child’s need for a father in IVF.
The Glasgow East constituency – which was one of Labour’s safest seats in the UK – has large numbers of Roman Catholics.
Ahead of the vote, Roman Catholic Bishops strongly criticised the Government’s embryos Bill as “monstrous” and a violation of “moral law”.
The embryos Bill was not the only issue during the by-election, but it played a significant role in the campaign.
The campaign group, Right to Life, sent letters to eleven churches in the constituency spelling out the beliefs of the candidates on pro-life issues.
Mr Mason sparked a row on 13 July when he claimed the Government wants to “experiment with babies”.
He said: “I’m extremely unhappy about experiments with babies, or research, or anything like that.” Mr Mason later clarified his position and referred to “research on embryos”.
The final Commons votes on the embryos Bill were due to take place during the run up to the by-election. But they were delayed by the Government until the autumn.
There has been speculation that the Labour party leadership wanted to avoid a sensitive issue for Roman Catholic voters in the by-election.