Archbishop slams 24-hour drinking and Embryos Bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has attacked 24-hour alcohol licensing and proposals in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Speaking in an interview to mark his 5th anniversary as Archbishop, he expressed his concern that the law allowing 24-hour drinking is likely to survive a Government review.

“I would be interested to see why anyone should think of it as a success. I think it has had an effect of making less safe and less civil our public space in many, many contexts, including Canterbury,” he said.

“There is a whole culture of alcohol abuse which this country has failed to tackle and the 24-hour thing is just the tip of the iceberg.”

He also attacked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, commenting: “there remains this very instrumentalist view of the human embryo: we use it for something and then destroy it, and I find that ethically very hard to accept”.

“In this country,” he said, “more than in many others we seem to be taking for granted that it is all right to regard the human embryo as something to be used instrumentally – that is my big moral concern.”

He also criticised the “highly technological view” of human reproduction embodied in the Bill, describing proposals to remove the recognition that a child needs a father from the law as a “downgrading of the ordinary processes of reproduction and upbringing.”

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