Monday, April 1, 2024

U.K. Parliament and UAP

An interest by various Parliamentarians

In recent years, we have seen movement as regards individual Parliamentary member interest in UAP, in the U.S. Congress; the Australian Parliament; the Canadian Parliament, and most recently the European Parliament. The U.K. Parliament seems to have been the most reticent to have any individual member ask a question about UAP. However, thanks to the efforts of Twitter user @wow36932525 and John Priestland of @UNHidencharity, we are now aware of a short U.K. Parliamentary interaction mentioning UAP. 

U.K. House of Commons

The U.K. House of Commons' Science, Innovation and Technology Committee took oral evidence on 13 December 2023, when conducting their inquiry into the state of play with Astronomical research in the U.K.

The following is an extract of the relevant mention of UAP from the official transcript of the conversation. To watch a clip of the session video, click here. 

"Q76. Stephen Metcalfe: I am slightly loth to ask these questions, and I cannot even blame the Clerks for them. They are entirely my own invention. As has been mentioned, we are about to launch an inquiry into astronomy. At our briefing last week one of the questions was, “What is the purpose of astronomy?” and we were given some very excellent answers, but one of them was to look for the evidence of extraterrestrial life in any form. Let us not kid ourselves that we are looking for little green men, but it would fundamentally change our understanding of our place in the universe if we were to find evidence of life outside of earth. First, do the Government specifically fund the search for extraterrestrial life, or is it just through the general astronomy programme? Secondly, if life were found in whatever form, do Government have a plan about how that would be shared with the public? Does it just trickle out of the six o’clock news or is it on the risk register, for example?

Michelle Donelan: To the best of my knowledge, it is not on the risk register. The communication plan would depend on the exact specifics of the hypothetical that we are talking about and how it would play out and would also be a cross-Government undertaking with particular Cabinet Office involvement. 

Sarah Munby: We have a small effort within our space team looking at the question of how we would handle such an announcement. By the way, by far the most likely scenarios here are not ones that would feature on the risk register. They are the findings of what is likely to be relatively local, relatively unadvanced microbial life. It could actually be a really important catalysing moment for the UK science community. 

Q77 Stephen Metcalfe: You can see why I am loth to ask this question, because I can hear sniggering. We are looking for it. I just wondered how seriously that is taken. 

Michelle Donelan: It is taken appropriately seriously. 

Q78 Stephen Metcalfe: I will wait for the sniggers, but while we were in the United States, doing our AI inquiry, there were hearings taking place on the Hill about unidentified aerial phenomena. Do the Government have any views on those or did they look on with astonishment? Do they have Departments that look at these things as well? Are they thinking of having hearings on UFOs? 

Michelle Donelan: We are not planning on any hearings at the moment, but of course we work very closely with our allies on all these topics. We have a goal to be one of the most innovative space sectors in the world and our relationship with America on this agenda is incredibly important. 

Q79 Stephen Metcalfe: Were you surprised that they held those hearings? 

Michelle Donelan: I do not think I was surprised. I was intrigued. 

Stephen Metcalfe: Yes, we were all intrigued. Chair: It is interesting to know that, in terms of our preparedness, there is preparedness for a communication should such a discovery be made. This is fascinating."

Who was speaking?

Stephen Metcalfe

Stephen Metcalfe is a member of the House of Commons. The Chair for the whole session was Greg Clark, another member of the House of Commons. The Right Honourable Michelle Donelan, M.P. is the Secretary of State, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. Sarah Munby is the Permanent Secretary, Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.

I checked two more transcripts of the Committee's inquiry into Astronomy in the U.K., namely of oral testimony taken at meetings on 10 January 2024 and 13 March 2024, but found no further mention of UAP.

Acknowledgement: I wish to thank Jonathan Davies, from Wales, for research assistance with this article. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

A National Science Foundation initiative - a UAP workshop

 Introduction Details have emerged of a workshop titled " Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP): A Dialogue on Science, Public Engagem...