Ian Gibson

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Person.png Ian Gibson  Rdf-icon.png
Born1938-09-26
Dumfries, Scotland
NationalityBritish
SpouseElizabeth Frances Lubbock
PartyLabour

Ian Gibson is a British Labour politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Norwich North from 1997 to 2009. On 5 June 2009, he resigned from the House of Commons after he was barred from standing as a Labour candidate by the Labour Party for the next general election in the wake of criticism over his expenses claims.[1]

Gibson is a former Dean of Biology at the University of East Anglia (1991-97).[2]

GM crops and foods

Gibson is an enthusiastic defender of GM crops.[3] He once admitted of himself and another GM proponent, Derek Burke, "We are working together to try and erode the anti-GM debate."[4]

In a 2004 House of Commons debate on GM foods, Gibson, who chaired the all-party Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, dismissed concerns over GM food safety.

As a scientist, he said, he could "decimate" his opponents. Gibson said: "The epidemiology studies carried out in every major centre, including in the universities in the States and elsewhere, into the effects of [GM] food ... have shown no effects whatever that correlate with the food - although I understand how difficult that is to prove."[5]

Unfortunately for Gibson, one of the few scientists to have done GM food safety tests, Dr. Arpad Pusztai, responded to his comments in an open letter. Pusztai pointed out that "there have been no epidemiology studies, and certainly none published. This is obvious from the fact that, apart from this generalisation, you could not refer to a single such study. It is not surprising because in the absence of labelling of GM food in the USA such studies could not be carried out! However, it is known from official statistics that in less than ten years food-related illnesses have practically doubled in the USA since the introduction of GM food into the American diet." He added that while the reason for this is unknown, it is blatant bluster to declare that everything is well in the USA and that none of these ill effects correlate with food, including GM food.[6]

Gibson went on to claim that "the evidence is piling up to say that the [GM] food is, indeed safe." But when Pusztai asked Gibson to elaborate on this evidence, Gibson's reply was less confident. He gave just three examples to support his case, including a Monsanto study. Pusztai commented, "I expect what constitutes a pile is a matter of definition. One can reverse this argument by saying that the evidence is in fact piling up to show the health problems of GM foods reported in the published science literature. However, these you and other pro-GM supporters conveniently ignore."[7]

Resources

Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004

Affiliations

  • Patron of TOAST, former Obesity charity that was a front for a diet company.

Parliamentary jobs

From his profile on The Guardian website:[8]

  • Chair, House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology (Nov 2001 - May 2005)
  • Chairman of the science and technology committee (Jan 2001 - May 2005)
  • Chair, Parliamentary and Scientific Committee (Jan 1999 - Jul 2002)

26 September 1938|


References

  1. MP quitting to force by-election, BBC News, 5 Jun 2009, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  2. Ian Gibson: Electoral history and profile, The Guardian, undated profile, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  3. Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  4. Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  5. Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  6. Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  7. Claire Robinson, "Collusion and Corruption in GM Policy", Science in Society, Autumn 2004, accessed 4 Mar 2010
  8. Ian Gibson: Electoral history and profile, The Guardian, undated profile, accessed 4 Mar 2010