The full scale of the rift between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and senior scientists at its National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) over plans to relocate the institute emerged during a heated debate today (December 1) at the Houses of Parliament.

The hearing, called by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as part of an inquiry into the NIMR's future, heard allegations from one scientist that he had been threatened with the loss of his job by MRC Chief Executive Colin Blakemore if he continued to fight the relocation plans.

Robin Lovell-Badge, who works at the NIMR, told Members of Parliament (MPs) on the committee that Blakemore telephoned him on at least two occasions attempting to "coerce" him into changing his mind.

"I had telephone calls late at night from Colin Blakemore threatening my job," Lovell-Badge told the inquiry. "There were two occasions in particular last spring....

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