On 2 November, the House of Lords debated a Private Member’s Bill to ban tobacco advertising. ASH calls for Government to give this Bill the support it needs to become law.

Friday 02 November 2001

Peers call for tobacco ad-ban, but will the Government listen?

ASH press release: immediate release  Friday 2 November 2001

The House of Lords today overwhelmingly backed a Private Member’s Bill which would ban tobacco advertising in the UK. 80% of Peers who spoke during the debate -19 out of 24 – were in favour of the Bill, and want to see it become law. The Private Member’s Bill was introduced by Lord Clement – Jones after the Government left out an ad-ban Bill from this year’s Queen’s speech. Lord Clement – Jones’ Bill is, word for word, the same as a Government Bill which was introduced at the beginning of this year, but which ran out of time in the run up to the General Election.  The Government promised to ban tobacco advertising in their election manifestos in both 1997 and this year.

Despite this strong support for a tobacco ad-ban from all sides of the political spectrum in both houses of parliament, the Bill is highly unlikely ever to become law unless Ministers support it by giving it Government Parliamentary time. Pressure is growing for Ministers to adopt Lord Clement-Jones’ Bill and to make sure that the opportunity to deliver on a manifesto commitment is not lost for a second time.

John Connolly, Public Affairs Manager for ASH, said:

“Today’s debate shows a real sea-change in the House of Lords. When the Government’s Bill was debated in the Lords in March, opinion was very divided as to whether a tobacco ad-ban was a good thing. Today, on the other hand, peers were overwhelmingly behind the idea.

“The Government should take advantage of this change in mood, and give the Bill the support it will need if it’s going to become law. This is supposed to be a top Government priority for public health, but at the moment it looks as if Ministers are happy to let a Liberal Democrat peer make all the running. If they really want to ban tobacco advertising, now is the time to give this Bill some real support. It will be popular with the public, has support from members of all political parties, and will cost next to nothing. If they aren’t willing to act now, you have to wonder whether they ever will be.”

Contact: John Connolly 020 77395902 (office) or 07702817477 (mobile) – ISDN available