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Second UKCMRI Lab Parliamentary Hearing Report (newsagent) | 18.02.2011 23:22 | London

The second hearing for the Science and Technology Parliamentary Inquiry into the UKCMRI proposed bioresearch laboratory took place on 16th February, at Portcullis House - more below.....

Three representatives from UKCMRI Ltd (Sir Paul Nurse, Chief Executive and Director, Sir David Cooksey, Chairman, and John Cooper, Chief Operating Officer) were questioned by a group of MPs chaired by Andrew Miller MP, Labour, (Ellesmere Port and Neston) on 16th February at the second hearing for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the controversial UKCMRI lab plans. Link here to video of hearing.

The other MPs present were: Gavin Barwell, Conservative, Croydon Central (who also happens to be "paired" with Paul Nurse's daughter in the Royal Society "Pairing Scheme" - as stated on their website "helps to build bridges between parliamentarians, civil servants and some of the best science research workers in the UK"), Stephen Metcalfe, Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock , David Morris, Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale, Stephen Mosley, Conservative, City of Chester, Pamela Nash, Labour, Airdrie and Shotts, Graham Stringer Labour, Blackley and Broughton and Roger Williams, Liberal Democrat, Brecon and Radnorshire.

Great skills at avoiding questions were demonstrated in what could be described as a master class in spin and waffle.

Questions included: origins of the plan, (it seems at one point Paul Nurse had thought of using the Millenium Dome), cost, funding, inflation, delay/problems (Cooper admitted a problem with a previous Wellcome Trust project he had been involved with), links with the pharmaceutical industry, proposed central London site, and dangers/risks.

Sir Paul Nurse stated, in an attempt to justify building the enormously expensive proposed gigantic laboratory complex, regarding workers they "have to recruit" "....they like central London - I tell you - they don't like the suburbs" 

More information relating to the hearing here.

A third hearing has been arranged for Wednesday 2nd March, 2011 at Portcullis House, Thatcher Room, from 10.45am with Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science and Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Quality, Department of Health. Link to more information and link to interactive map of Portcullis House. 

BACKGROUND: The government has offered £220 million of public money towards a proposal to build a gigantic laboratory complex alongside St Pancras International Station, planned to handle "Biosafety Level 3" extremely dangerous pathogens in 79,000 square metres of building, eight storeys above ground and four storeys below ground, on land behind the British Library, at a time of brutal cutbacks. It has been approved at a Camden Council Committee meeting and Boris Johnson has approved the plans. A group of Camden campaigners St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action are opposing this. (newsagent)
- Original article on IMC London: