The UK government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which includes the heavily disputed provisions on creating interspecies or hybrid embryos for stem cell research, will now move to the Committee stage in the House of Commons.

Yesterday the bill passed its second reading in the Commons by a strong majority of 340 votes for and 78 against.

Following a determined campaign of opposition by Church leaders, the government has acknowledged the concerns of Labour Catholics by allowing ministers and backbenchers a free vote on three contentious elements of the proposed legislation, including the creation of human admixed embryos for research purposes.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are letting their MPs vote as they see fit on all aspects of the bill.