Christopher Chope

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Christopher Chope is the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Christchurch.

Relationship with Tobacco Industry

Took Hospitality from British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International

Chope has taken tobacco industry hospitality.

2015 - Chope accepted two tickets and hospitality to Wimbledon worth £440 from British American Tobacco (BAT).[1] Chope also accepted one ticket and hospitality for the England versus Australia Rugby World Cup match from Japan Tobacco International (JTI), valued at £1,650.[1]

2014 - Chope accepted two tickets to the Chelsea Flower show worth £1,404.00 from JTI.[2]

2013 - Chope accepted two lots of hospitality from JTI. In June he accepted two tickets to the Glyndebourne Opera Festival worth £1,534 from JTI and in November he accepted two tickets to Twickenham worth £400.[3]

Chope’s actions breached the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which the UK Government is a signatory. The Framework states that parties should “interact with the tobacco industry only when and to the extent strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products”.[4]

For more details, see Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians.

Voted Against Plain Packaging

A 2015 report from the BMJ highlighted that 38 MPs had accepted tobacco industry hospitality worth over £60,000 since 2010, and that 20 of those 38 MPs had voted against plain packaging.[5]

Chope was one of the 50 MPs who wrote to the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2012 expressing serious concerns over plain packaging proposals.[6]

"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"

Publication of the Chantler Review 2014

On 3 April 2014, the Chantler review of the evidence for plain packaging was published.[7]

Sir Chantler concluded:

Having reviewed the evidence it is in my view highly likely that standardised packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking and implausible that it would increase the consumption of tobacco. I am persuaded that branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke and in consolidating the habit irrespective of the intentions of the industry. (p6)[7]

The Health Minister Jane Ellison announced in the House of Commons that the Government would, as a result of the review, conduct another brief Consultation on the proposed legislation.[8] During the House of Commons debate on 3 April 2014, Ellison received questions from a number of MPs.

Chope asked “What evidence is there that young people do not access illegal drugs as much because they are sold in plain packages?”[9] When Chope asked this question he first stated that: “I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.”

Ellison referred Chope to the Chantler Review “where he will find 30-odd pages of extremely well-argued, authoritative comment by someone who has looked very deeply and widely at the issues over the past few months.”

Government Announces Intention to Proceed with Plain Packaging

On 21 January 2015 Ellison announced that the government was to bring plain packaging regulations before the May 2015 General Election. According to a piece in the British media, Chope responded to the news as “very disappointing”, “the wrong decision” and a decision that “does not reflect the evidence.”[10]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Profile of Christopher Chope on UK Parliament website.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests as at 5 September 2016, 4 September 2015, accessed October 2017
  2. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 9 February 2015 report, 9 February 2015, accessed February 2015
  3. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 20 January 2014 report, 20 January 2014, accessed February 2015
  4. Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2008, accessed November 2017
  5. BMJ Investigation reveals how big tobacco is able to woo parliamentarians, BMJ, Press Release 21 May 2015, accessed October 2017
  6. M. Barrett, 34 Conservative MPs write to Andrew Lansley to express “serious concerns” about plain tobacco packaging, Conservative Home, 2 July 2012, accessed February 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 C. Chantler, Standardised packaging of tobacco: Report of the independent review undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, Kings College London, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  8. BBC, Government to move ahead with standardised cigarette packs, BBC News, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  9. House of Commons Debates 3 April 2014: Tobacco Products (standardised packaging), Volume no:578, Part No:148, 3 April 2014, accessed February 2015
  10. C. Henry, David Cameron facing Tory backlash over plain cigarette packs, City AM, 23 January 2015, accessed February 2015