Tory MP Michael Fabricant to push for end to ‘illogical’ gay blood donation rules in BBC interview

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Conservative MP Michael Fabricant’s campaign to allow gay men to donate blood moves forward tomorrow when a short film and an interview will take place on the BBC.

Tory MP Mr Fabricant last month called for an end to the 12-month deferral on gay and bisexual men donating blood, in a Parliamentary 10-minute motion.

At present, men who have sex with men (MSM) can only give blood in England, Wales and Scotland if they have not had sex for 12 months or more – and remain banned from donating for life in Northern Ireland.

In June, the Department of Health (DH) rejected calls by the Green Party to end the restrictions.

The film, will be followed by a live interview with him on BBC2’s Daily Politics show on Wednesday 5 November.  It will be shown after Prime Minister’s Questions between 12.30pm and 1pm tomorrow.

Mr Fabricant told PinkNews: “I have discussed this issue with Jane Ellison, the Minister for Public Health who was in the Chamber when I presented my 10 Minute Rule Bill to the House.  She recognises that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  While it is early days, I believe the Government recognises that the welcome changes made by her predecessor, Anne Milton who lifted the total ban, need to be advanced still further.  The present position is illogical, unfair, and untenable.”

The Department of Health released a statement reading: “We understand that it can be disappointing for anyone who wishes to donate blood if they are not able to do so. Sexually active gay men are at a statistically higher risk of acquiring blood-borne infections and there is a small possibility that the tests we use may not pick up infections, particularly those which have been recently acquired. A review by independent experts advised the Government that the introduction of multiple questions regarding sexual behaviour could lead to a loss of existing donors who would be likely to find the process intrusive, which ultimately could lead to a reduction of the blood supply.”

Responding, Mr Fabricant said: “This still does not make sense.  It cannot be logical that a gay man practising safe sex with a single partner is banned from giving blood while a straight man having unsafe sex with multiple partners can. There is no logic to this and it is unnecessarily discriminatory.”

Campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “The current ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood within 12 months of them last having sex is medically unjustified discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“I hope the government will support proposals for a shorter exclusion period based on a more refined risk assessment.”