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Golden Duck Short-list: 3. David Tredinnick MP

David Tredinnick is nominated for being the most active supporter of alternative therapies in Parliament.

 

Elected as Conservative MP for Bosworth, he has held his seat since 1987. He was involved in one of the sleaze stories that helped sink the Major government – he accepted £1,000 from an undercover reporter to ask parliamentary questions on a fictitious drug.[1]

 

However, in the context of quackery, it is more worrying that his questions in parliament have promoted homeopathy, radionics (healing via a kind of psychic remote control) and astrology. He has been involved in campaigns to promote herbalism, being described by some MPs as the “Right Hon. Member for Holland and Barrett”[2]. He has also been the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated and Complementary Healthcare since 2002[3]

 

He has spoken in the house on funding for Chinese herbal medicine, calling opposition to it racially prejudiced[4]. He believes that surgeons will not operate at times of a full moon as they know it causes bleeding. Unsurprisingly, the Royal College of Surgeons don’t have such a policy and indeed, might “laugh their heads off” at the suggestion they did.[5]

 

That he claimed £210 for astrology software and £300 on tuition sessions for same from new age technology company Crucial Astro Tools[6] would be funny if he were not also a member of the Commons Health Select Committee[7], whose job it is to oversee and scrutinise spending of the Department of Health. It does not auger well that someone who states “”There are now people who teach, such as Jane Ridder-Patrick, who published “A Handbook of Medical Astrology”. They look at aspects of the subject and how it affects people’s health. Whatever one believes personally, the issue is one that we should look into and consider.” is in such an influential position.

 

With such potential influence over the nation’s health policy, Tredinnick is at the same time ludicrous, irrational and potentially dangerous.