Blakemore was right

January 23, 2004

Martin Ince (Opinion, THES , January 9) suggested that Colin Blakemore "missed the point when he threatened to quit the Medical Research Council over the honours shenanigans". However, it is Ince who has missed the point.

No one expects an honour to be awarded to a chief executive who has barely warmed the seat. Indeed, the objections, including a letter to Tony Blair from the Council of the Biosciences Federation, made no comment on Blakemore's suitability for an honour.

The concerns that Blakemore, the Council of the Biosciences Federation and many others raised were over the apparent exclusion of an individual because of their involvement in the public debate on the use of animals in biomedical research. In Blakemore's case, this is particularly harmful since public engagement and debate are key MRC mission statements and a stated goal of our government.

Nancy Rothwell
Biosciences Federation

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