UK Politicians Hosting Tobacco Event at Parliament
Tobacco companies seek to influence public policy that impacts their business. One way they do this is by directly lobbying elected officials and political parties.
The United Kingdom (UK) was shown to be the country with the least tobacco industry interference in 2017/18 as per the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index. Yet even here the tobacco industry has openly tried to influence politicians and policy makers. In the past, tobacco representatives have:
- exhibited at political party conferences (for example, see our page on PMI’s Kate Marley);
- showered individual politicians with gifts and hospitality;
- and asked Members of Parliament (MPs) to host events on their behalf in the grounds of Parliament.
This page lists the MPs who have hosted events at Parliament on behalf of tobacco companies from 2012 onwards, as disclosed in the UK House of Commons Event & Function Bookings Register.
Members of Parliament who Hosted Parliamentary Events
|Maria Caulfield||Lewes||Conservative||17 July: Afternoon reception, on behalf of Philip Morris Ltd|
|Byron Davies||Gower (Wales)||Conservative||14 November: Drinks reception with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, reception on behalf of BAT|
|Nigel Evans||Ribble Valley||Conservative||21 March: Roundtable, lunch on behalf of PMI|
|Craig Mackinlay||South Thanet||Conservative||10 October: The State of the Tobacco Black Market, reception on behalf of Tobacco Manufacturers' Association|
|Ian Paisley||North Antrim||Democratic Unionist Party||31 October: JTI Report Launch: Illegal Tobacco Trade, Reception on behalf of JTI||27 June: Illicit Tobacco Trade, Dinner||5 July: Taking a Stand: Tackling Illegal Tobacco, Tea on behalf of JTI||16 May: Taking a Stand Against the Illegal Tobacco Trade, Afternoon Tea on behalf of JTI. 10 September: Reception for participants of the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum|
|Mark Pawsey||Rugby||Conservative||27 November: “JTI Reception” on behalf of DoDs Parliamentary Communications|
|Andrew Rosindell||Romford||Conservative||25 October: Illicit Tobacco Trade Survey 2017, reception on behalf of Tobacco Manufacturers' Association|
|Keith Vaz||Leicester East||Labour||23 January: Transcrime Report on Illicit Tobacco Trade, Reception on behalf of Transcrime|
|John Whittingdale||Maldon||Conservative||30 November: Philip Morris Ltd and PMI Science, tea on behalf of PMI|
Key Topic: Illicit Trade
Breach of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
Since December 2004, the UK has been a Party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which obliges Parties to protect their public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the Treaty state that there “is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interest and public health policy interests”, and recommend that Parties should deal with the tobacco industry in an accountable and transparent manner, only interacting with it to the extent strictly necessary to enable Parties to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products”.
Social events such as a “drinks reception” and launches of tobacco industry reports that promote public-private partnerships and challenge proven public health policies, are a breach of the WHO FCTC and serve the interests of the tobacco industry, not public health.
- M. Assunta, The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019, Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, accessed November 2019
- House of Commons Publications, Events and Function Booking Data, 01 August 2012 to 31 July 2013, accessed September 2019
- House of Commons Publications, Events and Function Booking Data, 01 August 2015 to 31 July 2016, accessed September 2019
- House of Commons Publications, Events and Function Booking Data, 01 August 2016 to 31 July 2017, accessed September 2019
- House of Commons Publications, Events and Function Booking Data, 01 August 2017 to 31 July 2018, accessed September 2019
- House of Commons, House of Commons Events and Function Booking Data, 01 August 2018 to 31 July 2018, parliament.uk, accessed November 2019
- British American Tobacco, Former Chief Constable joins British American Tobacco’s fight against global tobacco trafficking, News Release 20 May 2013, accessed January 2018
- United Nations Treaty Collection, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Geneva, 21 May 2003, last updated 23 October 2019, accessed October 2019
- World Health Organization, Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2008, accessed September 2019