Julian Huppert, a research biochemist who became the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge at the last election, said he was alarmed at the lack of scientific knowledge among colleagues.
In an interview with The Independent, he also accused political leaders of paying “lip service” to the importance of scientific proof and warned that looming cuts to university research budgets could provoke a “brain drain” from Britain.
Although there are other backbenchers with scientific backgrounds, Dr Huppert is the sole MP to have practised past PhD level, specialising most recently on DNA structures.
He said it was a real concern that the Commons – which is full of career politicians, lawyers and economists – lacked scientific expertise. Dr Huppert, a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, argued that all MPs should be obliged to take a short science training course, covering areas such as how research is conducted, numeracy and the use of statistics.
“It would be really important for all MPs to have some exposure, because some of them will not have studied any science since they were 15 and it’s important to understand how to engage with it,” he said. “You would then have a lot of MPs who were able to understand the information they were being presented with.”
Accusing some MPs of being “anti-science”, he said: “They have a set of beliefs and they will argue that regardless of the science.”
You can read the full piece in the Independent.