Three senior Cabinet ministers have said they will vote against the Government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill because of ethical objections.
In December it was reported that Labour MPs may be allowed a free vote, but the convention of ‘collective responsibility’ within the Cabinet means senior ministers are expected to vote in line with the Government.
However, three senior members of the Cabinet, Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, and Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary, want to vote against the Bill.
The three ministers are Roman Catholics and feel unable to vote in favour of the Bill, which includes measures that would open the way for animal-human hybrid embryos to be created and destroyed for medical research.
A Government source told The Daily Telegraph: “This is a vital Bill and the Prime Minister has taken a close interest.
“That means we have to get it through. But when you are talking about people’s religious beliefs, particularly among Cabinet ministers, then it creates problems.”