Simon Hart

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Simon Hart is the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.[1]

Against Plain Packaging

Hart was one of the 50 MPs who wrote to the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2012 expressing serious concerns over plain packaging proposals.[2]

"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"

Voted Against Amendments to Children and Families Bill 2014

In February 2014, Hart was one of only 24 MPs who voted against tabled amendments to the Children and Families Bill which would enable the UK government to:[3]

1. Introduce regulations requiring plain packaging for tobacco products;
2. Introduce regulations making it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to children under 18;
3. Make it an offence for an adult to buy cigarettes for anyone under the age of 18 (proxy purchasing).[4][5]

A massive 453 MPs voted in favour of the amendments.

Publication of the Chantler Review 2014

On 3 April 2014, the Chantler review of the evidence for plain packaging was published.[6]

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)[6]

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.[7]

During the House of Commons debate on 3 April 2014, Ellison received questions from a number of MPs.

Hart stated “The minister will be aware that it is already an offence to smoke in public under the age of 16 and to purchase tobacco under the age of 18. Would it be a good start to ensure that the current laws work before we start imposing new ones?”[8]

Ellison referred Hart to the Chantler Review stating:

”The Government are seeking to consider all measures that have an impact on children taking up smoking in the first place, and many of our laws and measures are beginning to bear fruit as smoking is at its lowest ever level in this country. Every child who takes up smoking is one child too many, and I urge Members to read Sir Cyril’s report and examine the evidence and what he says about the pressures on children. When Members have reflected on that, I hope they will join me in supporting any measure that can make an impact in this area.”

Tobacco Hospitality

In May 2014 Hart accepted two tickets to the Chelsea Flower show worth £1,404.00 from Japan Tobacco International (JTI).[9]

External Resources

Profile of Simon Hart on TheyWorkForYou website.

Notes

  1. Correct on 16 February 2015
  2. 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
  3. Hansard,Children and Families Bill (Programme No. 3), House of Commons Debates, 10 February 2014, accessed February 2015
  4. S. MacGuill. House of Enablers – Does anything now go for tobacco control in the UK? Euromonitor International, 11 February 2014
  5. Smokefree Action Coalition. SFAC welcomes Parliament’s support for a package of measures to reduce smoking and protect children. Smokefree Action Coalition News, 10 February 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sir Cyril Chantler, Standardised packaging of tobacco: Report of the independent review undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, Kings College London, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  7. BBC, Government to move ahead with standardised cigarette packs, BBC News: Politics, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  8. House of Commons Debates 3 April 2014: Tobacco Products (standardised packaging), Volume no:578, Part No:148, 3 April 2014, accessed February 2015
  9. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 9 February 2015 report, 9 February 2015, accessed February 2015