Lord Naseby

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Lord Naseby (Michael Morris) is a British Conservative politician who has been in the UK House of Lords since October 1997.1

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Accepted Hospitality from Japan Tobacco

On 16 June 2014, Lord Naseby attended a concert at the O2 Arena of rock group the Eagles, courtesy of Japan Tobacco International (JTI).2

Naseby later told the BMJ that he had been joined that night by a JTI representative and a representative from the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA).3 Naseby added that he thought the reason JTI had invited him was “because he was supportive, but, as a non-smoker, had no vested interest in smoking”. Naseby added that he did not discuss tobacco policy that night, saying that “It would be entirely inappropriate, wouldn’t it?”3

JTI has often provided hospitality or gifts to UK politicians. For an overview of UK Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers who have taken hospitality from JTI and other tobacco companies, go to Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians.

Took Hospitality from the UK Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association

The Eagles concert was not the first time Lord Naseby accepted tobacco industry hospitality.

In 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2008, Lord Naseby went on one-day shooting trips in Bedfordshire, hosted, and paid for, by the TMA.4567

Lord Naseby’s acceptance of tobacco industry hospitality contravenes the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), to which the UK has been a Party to since December 2004.8 Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the Treaty, recommend 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”.9

Opposed Tobacco Control Measures in the UK

Since he joined the UK House of Lords in 1997, Naseby has regularly opposed UK tobacco regulations. Naseby told the BMJ in 2015 that he defends the tobacco industry based on “principles of a career spent in marketing”, and added that “I have been brought up in a capitalist world, and if a product is legal there must be the opportunity for the companies involved to trade”.3

Below are examples of tobacco control measures challenged by Lord Naseby (note this list is not exhaustive).

Challenged Existing Tobacco Regulations: Ban on Small Packs & Trace and Trace

In November 2017, Lord Naseby asked the House of Lords whether an impact assessment had been undertaken of the financial impact on tax revenue collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) since the introduction of the ban on small tobacco packages.10 Naseby’s question is in sync with the TMA’s claim that the ban on small tobacco packs costs the UK up to £2.4 billion in lost tax revenue, and that in light of Brexit, the UK Government should reconsider “the EU-driven prohibition on smaller cigarette and hand rolling tobacco pack sizes”.11

Naseby also questioned if there had been an impact assessment of the implementation of the EU’s track and trace scheme for tobacco products for UK businesses.12 One month earlier, TMA issued a formal response to the track and trace system proposed by the EU, claiming that it’s not feasible and places “onerous requirements for businesses within the supply chain”.13

Briefed by the Tobacco Industry on Plain Packaging

In 2015, Lord Naseby opposed tobacco plain packaging using arguments first developed by The Plain Pack Group, a collaborative action by tobacco companies aimed at developing a worldwide strategy against plain packaging.141516 Speaking in the House of Lords in March 2015, Lord Naseby claimed that “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jobs could be at risk” in packaging firms if tobacco plain packaging were to be introduced in the UK.17. Lord Naseby further added that “the introduction of plain packaging will not, in my judgment, produce the results claimed and I base that on the evidence from Australia, which has been authenticated, by varying government bodies there”.17

Although he did not declare it at the time, Lord Naseby later admitted to the BMJ that he had been briefed by the TMA before giving his speech, saying “who else would I get it from, since the government didn’t seem to understand it?”3

Opposed Ban on Tobacco Advertising

Lord Naseby led the opposition to the 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill banning all tobacco advertisement, including the internet.1819 In a speech in the House of Lords on 15 March 2002, Naseby unsuccessfully tried to weaken the legal text, arguing that the bill wasn’t necessary or proportionate, and that the objective could “be achieved by less far-reaching and intrusive measures”.20

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Profile of Lord Naseby on UK Parliament website.

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  1. MPs, Lords & Offices: Lord Naseby, UK Parliament website, undated, accessed November 2017
  2. Register of Lords’ Interests 22 May 2015, UK Parliament website, accessed October 2020
  3. abcdJ. Gornall, Tickets to Glyndebourne or the Oval? Tobacco’s bid to woo MPs and peers, the BMJ, 23 May 2015, accessed February 2021
  4. Register of Lords’ Interests As on 18 July 2003, UK Parliament website, accessed November 2017
  5. Register of Lords’ Interest As on 16 July 2004, UK Parliament website, accessed November 2017
  6. Register of Lords’ Interests As Amended to Show Position on 16 July 2007, UK Parliament website, accessed November 2017
  7. Register of Lords’ Interests as Amended to Show Position on 23 July 2009, UK Parliament website, accessed November 2017
  8. United Nations Treaty Collection, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Geneva, 21 May 2003, undated, accessed November 2017
  9. World Health Organization, Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2008, accessed November 2017
  10. House of Lords, Parliamentary Question Asked by Lord Naseby About Prohibition on Small Cigarette Packs, TheyWorkForYou, 15 November 2017, accessed November 2017
  11. Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, Brexit, undated, accessed November 2017
  12. House of Lords, Parliamentary Question Asked by Lord Naseby About Track and Trace Impact on UK Businesses, TheyWorkForYou, 15 November 2017, accessed 15 November 2017
  13. Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, TMA response to the EU Commission Consultation on draft Implementing Regulations EU system for establishment and operation of a Traceability system (under Article 15(11) of the TPD 2014/14/EU), 2 October 2017, accessed November 2017
  14. Unknown, Plain Pack Group- A Meeting of the Plain Pack Group Held in Staines 29 November 1993, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, Bates no: 502592179-502592359, accessed November 2017
  15. J. Smithson, Terminology and Terms of Reference, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 8 October 1993, Bates no: 502610520-502610522, accessed November 2017
  16. Action on Smoking and Health, The smoke filled room: How big tobacco influences health policy in the UK, May 2010, accessed January 2020
  17. abPress Association, Plain tobacco packs get go-ahead, The Daily Mail, 16 March 2015, accessed February 2021
  18. P. Wintour, Bill to ban tobacco adverts gets ministers’ backing, The Guardian, 7 January 2002, accessed November 2017
  19. J. Connolly, The Politics of Tobacco Advertising, Thorax, 2002;57(Suppl II):ii64-ii68
  20. House of Lords, Daily Hansard Friday 15 March 2002, Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, UK Parliament website, accessed November 2017