Donna Edmunds

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Donna Edmunds is an activist and writer who has held posts at various right wing think tanks including Director of Research at Progressive Vision, a contributor to The Freedom Association and Head of Media at the Bow Group. She has worked in the offices of Therese Coffey MP and former UKIP MEP Roger Helmer. Edmunds is a prolific writer who has contributed to a number of web sites including Breitbart.12


Political Career

In 2014, Edmunds was a UKIP Councillor and an MEP candidate for the South East of England.3 Edmunds is also on the Research Team as Research Fellow at Bow Group.4 Edmunds left UKIP after claiming she was about to be replaced as a candidate.1
Previously she had been a Conservative councillor in Lewes from 2011 to 2014.56 In September 2011, Edmunds stepped down from her post as lead councillor for communications after criticism of her reportedly calling a constituent a “village idiot” on Twitter. She had tweeted to the constituent to “pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want”.7 Before resigning, Edmunds apologised “unreservedly and whole heartedly to anyone who was offended by those comments, either cancer sufferers or NHS staff”.5

Opposing Tobacco Control Measures

In March 2013 Edmunds called for an end to the ban on snus and European involvement in setting tobacco control policies.8
In March 2011, in the run up to the Budget, Edmunds argued that “we at Progressive Vision would like to see the Government scrap the duty escalator due to be introduced which would see tobacco duty rise to 2% above inflation in the forthcoming 2011 Budget. In the longer term, we would also like the current policy of setting punitive taxes to disincentivise smoking to be revisited”.9
That same month, Donna Edmunds was one of 11 signatories of a Letter to the Editor to the Daily Telegraph attacking the Government’s position on tobacco control and arguing against further restrictions.10

Supported PMI’s FOI Request for Stirling University Tobacco Research

In 2011, Edmunds wrote an article that supported freedom of information request (FOI) of Philip Morris International (PMI) to the University of Stirling.11 Researchers from the university had conducted surveys with young people (aged 11 – 16 years) asking about their views on smoking, views on tobacco marketing and their smoking behaviour. PMI had requested that the university hand over their data.1112131415

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. abHope Not Hate, Breitbart: a rightwing plot to shape Europe’s future 2017, accessed May 2019
  2. The Freedom Association, Contributors, 3 December 2011, accessed April 2019
  3. BBC News, UKIP councillor Donna Edmunds in ‘women and gays’ row, 5 March 2014, accessed May 2019
  4., Research Team, undated, accessed May 2019
  5. abBBC News, Lewes councillor calls constituent ‘an idiot’ on Twitter, 2 September 2011, accessed April 2019
  6. Heart Publications, Dona Answers Her Critics, 9 April 2014, accessed May 2019
  7. J. Wallin, councillor steps down after Twitter row, 16 September 2011, accessed May 2019
  8. D.Edmunds, How an obscure Swedish tobacco product could hold the key to reversing Cameron’s EU problems, 27 May 2013, accessed May 2019
  9. D. Edmunds, A truly progressive Government would lower tobacco duty, Progressive Vision, 9 March, 2011, accessed April 2019
  10. Local taxpayers are left powerless when councils cut the wrong services, The Telegraph, 9 March 2011, accessed April 2019
  11. abD. R. Edmunds, Tobacco Wars: University of Stirling vs. Philip Morris International, The Commentator, 13 September 2011, accessed April 2019
  12. Scottish Information Commissioner, Decision 129/2011 Philip Morris International and the University of Stirling, 30 June 2011, accessed May 2019
  13. Scottish Information Commissioner, Commissioner found that request to Stirling University was not vexatious, Press Statement, 1 September 2011, accessed May 2019
  14. SIC, Decision 142/2011 Philip Morris International and the University of Stirling, 22 July 2011, accessed May 2019
  15. A. Hough, Philip Morris: tobacco firm using FOI laws to access secret academic data, The Telegraph, 1 September 2011, accessed May 2019