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Brown sidesteps by-election row

Gordon Brown has refused to be drawn on what defeat for Labour in the Glasgow East by-election could mean for him as prime minister.

He also sidestepped criticism from the Catholic Church about the government’s stance on abortion and embryology.

Mr Brown’s comments came at his monthly press conference at Downing Street.

The prime minister was … asked if the Catholic Church was trying to “hijack” the by-election after Bishop Joseph Devine, of Motherwell, wrote to Scottish Labour MPs over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

In the letter, Bishop Devine said that while the government had won a Commons vote on the Bill in May, it had in the process “lost its ethical credibility in the nation at large”.

But Mr Brown said he didn’t believe any “new issues” had been raised by the letter.

“I think we have to respect the fact that the House of Commons voted on a free vote on all these controversial issues related to the human embryology bill and made its views very clear.

“I believe we had a full debate, it was an informed debate, everybody had the chance to put their view.

“There was a free vote for MPs and a decision was reached.”

Full story at BBC News.

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