Metcalfe and JDP slam plans for fags in brown wrappers

THURROCK MPS, Stephen Metcalfe and Jackie Doyle-Price are among 34 Tory MPs who have written to the health secretary, Andrew Lansley expressing their “serious concerns” with the Department of Health’s proposal to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products.

The letter states:

“There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit; no country in the world has yet to introduce it. However, such a measure could have extremely negative consequences elsewhere. The proposal will be a smuggler’s charter. … this policy threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector, and over 65,000 valued jobs in the associated supply chain. … Given the continued difficult economic climate, businesses should not be subjected to further red tape and regulation”

Both MPs also express concern about the freedom aspect of blocking any branding of tobacco products:

“…we believe products must be afforded certain basic commercial freedoms. The forcible removal of branding would infringe fundamental legal rights, severely damage principles around intellectual property and set a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial free speech. Indeed, if the Department of Health were to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products, would it also do the same for alcohol, fast food, chocolate and all other products deemed unhealthy for us?”

The letter concluded:

“With the display ban, which will remove the visibility of tobacco products in shops currently being phased in across the UK, we urge the Government to reserve judgement and to cancel proposals for standardised packaging after considering fully the host of unintended damaging consequences that will result in its introduction.”

The other Tory MPs who signed the letter were:

Steve Baker (Wycombe)
Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)
Brian Binley (Northampton South)
Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan)
Douglas Carswell (Clacton)
Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal)
Philip Davies (Shipley)
Richard Drax (Dorset South)
Charlie Elphicke (Dover)
Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks (and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party))
Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green)
Simon Hart (Carmarthenshire West and Pembrokeshire South)
Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
Greg Knight (Yorkshire East)
Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater)
Karl McCartney (Lincoln)
Anne Main (St. Albans)
Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)
David Nuttall (Bury North)
Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Somerset North East)
Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
Mark Spencer (Sherwood)
Bob Stewart (Beckenham)
Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West)
Robin Walker (Worcester)
Robert Walter (Dorset North)

3 Responses to "Metcalfe and JDP slam plans for fags in brown wrappers"

  1. Reem   August 20, 2012 at 9:45 am

    The group of MPs are technically correct when they say no country in the world has yet to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. However, the High Court in Australia has supported that government and plain packaging will be introduced there from December this year.
    Canada and 3 or 4 other countries are also considering plain packaging.

    And there is a difference between tobacco and the other “unhealthy products” quoted by the MPs, in that there is research to show that small amounts of these, especially chocolate and alcohol, can have a beneficial effect on health, whereas there is no beneficial effect on health from tobacco.

    Mr. Metcalfe is a great champion for businesses, especially small businesses, and I feel for anyone who is unwillingly jobless, but if a business is producing only negative long-term effects on its customers, is it morally sustainable?

  2. jmw118   August 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Common sense from our MP’s.

  3. Lambo   August 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Are the government really that interested in getting people to stop smoking? the industry creates billions in revenue for the country and this would have to be reclaimed from elsewhere if were to stop.

    If they were adamant about removing the product they could quite easily outlaw tobacco or make it a classified drug like cannabis.

    Surely the ill effects of alcohol are such that labeling laws should be introduced for that as well?????

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