THESE past few weeks have been busy ones for our columnist, Norman St. JohnStevas. He has been rallying the opponents of David Steel's Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill in Parliament and his success can be measured by the voting last Friday.
the figures for and against the amendments put forward were much closer than last July when the Bill was given a second reading by 223 votes to 29.
Mr. St. John-Stevas has been an M.P. for three years now, representing the Chelms' ford, Essex, constituency as a Conservative. He got in (here after his third election battle. He'd had a previous one at Dagenham, Essex, when he was 21. He lost that. The first was a mock election at school. True to character he stood as a Conservative and won with a re
His platform manner is a real vote winner and would-be hecklers have a tough time. At a factory gate meeting during the last election Mr. St. JohnStevas was denouncing the rise in the cost of living under the Labour Government. "Milk has gone up," he said, "butter has gone up, bread has gone up."
"Tripe," a man in the crowd shouted. "Thank you, sir," replied Mr. St. John-Stevas without a pause. "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even the cost of tripe has gone up."
Mr. St. John-Stevas, who is 38, was educated at Ratcliffe College. At Cambridge he was President of the Union and took a First in law before switching to Oxford. He became Secretary of the Union there and picked up a few more degrees. His entry in Who's Who is littered with details of scholarships he's won over the years. In 1952 he was called to the Bar.
Like his scholarships and degrees Norman St. John Stevas' publications are numerous. They cover social, moral and legal subjects.
He describes his tastes as "classical": music, visiting stately homes and light — "I emphasise light" — gardening. When the Abortion Bill battle is over he plans to intro duce his own Bill into Parlia ment. It will be intended to help illegitimate children by demanding that the father of the child recognises his paternity.
Whether or not the Abortion Bill is defeated few will deny that the strength of the opposition is a considerable triumph for the Conservative member for Chelmsford.