Without Consent

Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales, was asked by a BBC Radio Wales recently if she had introduced a Bill in Parliament in favour of opt-out organ donation. It was reported by Walesonline that Ms Gillan replied: “sorry – I did what?”

Presenter Bethan Rhys Roberts then asked: “You proposed your own presumed consent Bill didn’t you, in Westminster in 2002?”

“I think you had better check your facts on that,” responded Ms Gillan.

“You didn’t do that?” replied Ms Roberts, to which Ms Gillan replied: “Not as far as I’m aware.”

Unfortunately, Hansard tells another story:


Mrs. Cheryl Gillan, supported by Mr. Stephen O'Brien, Dr. Julian Lewis and Mr. Desmond Swayne, presented a Bill to provide for the removal of organs for transplantation purposes, after death has been confirmed in a person aged 16 or over, except where a potential donor previously registered an objection or where a close relative objects; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 19 July, and to be printed [Bill 169].

While donating an organ may be an honourable thing to do, its use as a mechanism to place into statute the principle that consent should be assumed, is a dangerous one.

Before we know it, we will have a thousand statutes presuming the same thing with no way to keep track of them.

As an aside, it is interesting that it has surfaced within a week of ex-Labour MP David Chaytor being jailed for making fraudulent Parliamentary expenses claims, and just like David Chaytor we find that Cheryl Gillan was also listed as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for World Governance.