BSI weekly Policy and Public Affairs update
June 5th – June 9th
General Election Update
The General Election has ended in a hung Parliament, with the Conservatives returned as the largest party but falling short of the number of seats needed to form an overall majority. With 649 of 650 seats declared, the results read CON 318, LAB 261, LD 12, SNP 35, DUP 10, GREEN 1, and OTHERS 12.
The Prime Minister has lost her parliamentary majority, with Labour increasing their seat tally by more than 30. The result means that the Conservatives will hope to form a minority government and rely on a confidence and supply arrangement – where they seek support for legislation from other parties on a case by case basis – with the DUP in Northern Ireland their most natural allies.
The result casts uncertainty over the direction and timetable of the Brexit negotiations, which are due to start in 10 days’ time on June 19th. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has said: “We don’t know when Brexit talks start. We know when they musty end”. Michel Barnier, the lead EU negotiator, said that the negotiations should start “when the UK is ready”.
Several high profile MPs lost their seats, including Nicola Blackwood, the Health Minister and former chair of the Science and Technology Committee. Tania Matthias, who also sat on the Science Committee, lost her seat to the returning Liberal Democrat Vince Cable. The only seat yet to declare is Kensington, where the incumbent Victoria Borwick, also a member of the Science Committee before it dissolved for the election, is hoping to hold on to a constituency that has never been held by any party other than the Conservatives.
Jo Johnson, the science minister, and Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy retain their seats. So too do Education Secretary Justine Greening, responsible for Higher Education policy like the TEF, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, whose responsibilities cover immigration. Their majorities are nevertheless severely reduced.
A likely reshuffle however means it remains to be seen which MPs occupy key ministerial positions upon the formation of the new government.
Committee meets to discuss offering HPV vaccine for boys
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises UK health departments on immunisation and is considering extending the programme to include boys.
On Wednesday, The JCVI, which is made up of academics and health professionals, met to review the current criteria for receiving the HPV jab to decide if boys should also get the vaccine. The announcement of their decision has not been released due to the pre-election period Purdah, but we can expect a decision this summer.
In addition to the commonly referred to cervical cancers caused by certain strains of HPV, the virus is known to be associated with several other cancers including throat and penile cancers and others that affect males.
The BSI is a member of HPV Action and supports their view that this vaccine should be given to boys as well as girls.