|Previous Section||Home Page|
Sir Peter Emery : There is no doubt that some of the Government's proposals work excellently. The policy was actually carried through in Norway and Finland. If we had an advertising ban, would we not have had a greater decrease in smoking in Britain than we achieved ? We are left with a judgment, and I think that my right hon. Friend would accept that.
Dr. Mawhinney : As is often the case, my right hon. Friend is exactly right. I was seeking to show that, when other countries are prayed in aid in support of a judgment, evidence in this country suggests that, with our own arrangements, we are doing better in percentage terms than countries which claim some success following the application of a ban.
I am not saying whether those countries were right to introduce a ban ; that is a matter for them. However, the hon. Member for Rother Valley is inviting us to impose a ban. If we are to take such a serious step and deem to be illegal advertisements for a product which itself is legal, the evidence will need to be sufficiently persuasive. I am sure that my right hon. Friend clearly understands that point.
Within the European Union, as I have said, the two countries with the best record for reducing smoking in recent years are the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which favour voluntary controls on tobacco advertising. Our consumption has dropped from 45 per cent. to 28 per cent., and in the Netherlands it has fallen from 59 per cent. of the adult population in 1970 to 34 per cent. in 1992. Indeed, it is instructive to examine progress in reducing smoking in the European Union generally and other countries' attitudes to advertising bans. Countries that support a ban tend to have low prices for tobacco products. We know that every 10 per cent. increase in price produces about a 3 per cent. to 6 per cent. decrease in consumption. Those countries also tend to have nationalised industries and receive European Union subsidies for growing tobacco--in some cases, huge subsidies. Italy receives £450 million and Greece receives £300 million. In contrast, the United Kingdom has the third highest cigarette prices in the EC and a further commitment to increase tobacco taxes in real terms by at least 3 per cent. Budget by Budget--a commitment that is unmatched in the European Union. That is why I say that the voluntary system has served the United Kingdom well. However, we recognise the need to ensure that the system evolves to reflect specific concerns.
As I announced on Monday, the Government believe that it is desirable to take further steps to control some aspects of tobacco advertising. One specific concern is the exposure of children to such advertising. I have noted tobacco companies saying that they have a concern about children. They need to understand that I have a concern about children. Whatever the outcome of this debate, I am grateful to the House for reinforcing that it has a concern about children, and I shall enter the negotiations fortified by that support.
We shall open negotiations with the tobacco industry to strengthen the existing agreement. I want hon. Members and people outside the House to understand that the negotiations are not an easy option. They will be tough because the issues that we must debate are serious, but they will also be fair. The Government have no reason to believe that voluntary agreements will not be effective in delivering further controls.
The Government believe that this way forward is preferable to a statutory ban. It represents action on advertising and promotion which is in proportion to the
Column 618available evidence on the possible impact of advertising on smoking behaviour. What is important is reducing smoking and meeting the targets set out in "The Health of the Nation"--we agree on that much. We shall continue to focus on effective measures to ensure that we do so, and I commend the Government's policy to the House.
Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield) : I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) and hon. Members on both sides of the House on sponsoring this Bill. It is not only a public health measure ; it is a child protection measure. It can be targeted at and easily attributable to assisting children not to become involved with tobacco and other substance abuse. It is also a measure that will assist parents who do not smoke to encourage their children not to become involved in such abuses. The banning of advertising would reinforce that positive measure.
Before I comment on the Bill, I must tell right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House that this is the first occasion I have had since I had tuberculosis that I have spoken from the Dispatch Box. I thank all those who sent me letters, cards and telephone messages--they were much appreciated by my wife and me. I thank hon. Members for their concern and interest.
I hope that, by the end of May, I will be fully back in action, fit and raring to tackle the Minister's activities. The Minister was more subdued than his usual boisterous attempts to defend Government policy. I am sure that all hon. Members were surprised by his low-key attempt to defend the Government's policy in this morning's debate. With my Glaswegian accent, I may not be associated with cricket, but I recognise a tail-end batsman being put in on a sticky wicket by the captain. He must hang around for some time in the hope that things will improve the following day. The Minister did exactly that--and he did it somewhat better than perhaps the evidence of his case suggested.
It is clear from this debate that there is a desire and a demand for further positive action to end the scandal of the smoking epidemic. When the Minister was at the Dispatch Box a few weeks ago, he used an analogy about Wembley with regard to statistics. It was effective in terms of his case, although I did not agree with a word of it. I thought that I had better add that in case I was misquoted, in the way that the Smee report has been misquoted by Government Members in the debate.
I thought of using the Minister's analogy to bring home in graphic terms the imbalance not only in terms of advertising, but in the resources which are being used to discourage and to encourage children to become involved in smoking. We could fill Wembley stadium one and a half times each year with the number of people who die from smoking-related diseases in Britain. If we add our European partners, we can fill Wembley seven times.
Every time a match is played at Wembley, 20 of our fellow citizens will have died because of tobacco products, and two babies will have been admitted to hospital by the time of the final whistle. Most staggering of all is the £1 billion a year which is given to tobacco growers in the European Community. That is equivalent to a subsidy of £1.25 million to every single one of the 80,000 seats in Wembley. The Government are spending £5 million on publicity to
Column 619prevent children from smoking ; that is equivalent to buying four seats at Wembley out of a capacity crowd of 80,000.
The Government's announcement on Monday, which the Minister has again trumpeted, was that they were to target parents and adults during the next three years to assist in health education to prevent smoking. The figure of £12 million during three years is equivalent to 11 season tickets for Wembley over three seasons for a capacity crowd of 80,000. That shows the lack of investment and the inequality in the debate with regard to trying to prevent young people and adults from being involved in the abuse of tobacco.
Dr. Mawhinney : We should not leave some mistaken idea in the minds of hon. and right hon. Members, much less the public. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will also mention the figure of more than £30 million a year which we give to the HEA. I hope that he is also going to mention the millions of pounds which we give in health promotion payments to general practitioners to address the issue. There is a variety of other means of expenditure, which are not part of the advertising budget but which are crucial to the delivery of the aim that he and I share, which is to reduce the number of people who die from smoking.
Mr. McCartney : I am glad that the Minister referred to the HEA. The authority, and all who work with it, support the Bill. The Government are investing that amount of money to take advice and to assist in activities to prevent smoking. I should have thought that, if they are investing that kind of money, they would support the conclusions and recommendations of the HEA. It has said that banning advertising is a positive incentive to reducing the involvement of children in smoking in the first place.
Prevention is better than cure and there is a spirit of all-party co- operation on the issue which has been made clear by the quality of the debate. The spirit is so overwhelming that there should be no further prevarication about what we need to do.
That is not just the view of Conservative Back Benchers, or of right hon. Members who were previously in the Government but are now Back Benchers : it is also the view of members of the Cabinet. I will quote from a letter of 16 November from the President of the Board of Trade to the Prime Minister. The letter had this to say in respect of the Government's current policy, which was reinforced by the Minister this morning :
"I am persuaded by the medical evidence, acknowledged in Virginia's paper, that a ban on tobacco advertising would not only further reduce smoking but would contribute to the improvements in people's health and avoid the damaging economic burdens which the consequences of ill health place on business if the Governmnent really wishes to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the Health of the Nation targets and to inspire confidence in its actions on reducing smoking and illegal sales, an outright ban instead of some half-way house of severely constrained advertising is the credible way forward." That was the view of a frontline batsman, not someone sent in to defend the case between now and the close of play.
Mr. Peter Atkinson : Does the hon. Gentleman agree with the comment of the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron)--I hope that I quote him correctly--"There is no fundamental right to advertise ; it is a privilege"? If he agrees, who will give that privilege and take it away? Does that square with the right of free speech?
Mr. McCartney : The hon. Gentleman's comments are a red herring. The comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley were clear and specific, and I support them. He rightly said that hon. Members on both sides of the House were frustrated that, having given the privilege and freedom to the tobacco industry to act responsibly, its record shows that it has targeted children continuously, and sought to encourage them to smoke. It has targeted people in poor environments in the north of England, in areas which are already deprived of health and social facilities.
Mr. Hendry : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to refer to me as an apologist for the tobacco industry when I sought to intervene as someone whose father died of cancer when I was a teenager, and who refused to work on a tobacco account when I was asked to do so?
Mr. McCartney : I certainly said "may be" : you are absolutely right, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Gentleman can make his own speech in his own time. I will try to ensure that he and others are able to do so.
Mr. McCartney : I have been generous, and I am continuing to be generous to hon. Members on both sides of the House. But I become extremely frustrated, as other hon. Members do, when we have before us a piece of legislation that so clearly would save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, and hon. Members make snide, quickshot remarks and points of order which are irrelevant. We are in the business of saving countless lives. Let us remember what the debate is about. Hon. Members will say that the Bill should be seen as an isolated measure. Yet hon. Members who support the Bill also support the concept that the Minister of State outlined earlier-- that the policy on smoking is a family of measures.
The Bill is part and parcel of a preventative health strategy designed to discourage and dissuade people from smoking and prevent people starting to smoke. It includes health education programmes to encourage those who smoke to stop. Any measure within that family of measures
Column 621clearly has a health gain. I cannot understand for the life of me why the Government do not seize it with both hands and run with both Opposition and Conservative Members who support the Bill. We must take measures to stop people starting to smoke, and assist people to stop smoking. More importantly, if that is to succeed--this is the kernel of the argument--we must change the ethos and culture of smoking in society. The banning of advertisements changes that concept dramatically. We can then argue for a non-smoking, tobacco-free society. We can link death and ill health with tobacco, and fitness and leisure with not smoking. That is important. Why do tobacco companies advertise? It is simple. They have to replace the 300 customers a day that the product kills. Increasingly, mature adults recognise the dangers of smoking and, once they have given up, do not return to the habit. Therefore, the tobacco companies have to turn to the vulnerable. That vulnerable community is our children--not only 11 to 15-year-olds, but older children. Advertisements are designed to link smoking with sport and good images. They use peer pressure and undermine the family's messages to children about smoking. It is therefore vital for us to make it clear that advertising is about recruiting new customers for an industry which kills its customers because of the nature of the product that it sells.
Is it not incredible that 50 million packets of cigarettes are sold each year in the United Kingdom to children between the ages of 11 and 15? Those sales raise about £96.5 million in taxation for the Treasury, but only £5 million is spent on smoking prevention work with children. Is not that an indictment of our society and of the tobacco culture that advertising continues to promote and enhance? Those facts cannot be disputed, but we can dispute why the Government will not give the Bill a fair wind.
Mr. John Carlisle : The hon. Gentleman speaks with great passion. He mentioned sports. Would he therefore give us an absolute guarantee that those Opposition Members who share his views--he has given the impression that all Members on the Opposition Front Bench fully support the Bill--will not accept the hospitality of tobacco companies at sporting events they sponsor, or at which they take a hospitality tent? Will he also guarantee that Opposition Members will not attend sporting events that are sponsored by tobacco companies?
Mr. McCartney : The hon. Gentleman is a master of subterfuge. I shall come to sports sponsorship in a minute, because I am chairman of the rugby group in Parliament. When I go to Wembley to watch my favourite team, I do so despite tobacco advertising. I go to watch sportspeople, as do many families. The sooner we can get rid of tobacco advertising at such wonderful events the better.
I shall now point out a few statistics that the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) failed to give the House during his many interventions. The statistics are interesting and important and concern his constituency, where 138 people died last year because of smoking ; 503 people were admitted to national health service hospitals because of illnesses caused by smoking ; and 12 hospital beds have to be kept vacant or used to deal with the ill effects of smoking on his constituents, at a cost of more than £0.5 million to his local NHS trust.
Column 622In the hon. Member's constituency, both male and female deaths from coronary heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, pulmonary disease and other diseases attributable to smoking are staggering. If the hon. Member for Luton, North intervenes again, he should do so on behalf of those of his constituents who have been killed by the tobacco industy that he seems so intent on protecting.
The Minister for Health spoke in his statement on Monday about the setting up of a new scientific committee on tobacco and health. In his press statement the emphasis was on the "new"--it was in quotations and underlined. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would care to listen for a moment, instead of talking to his Parliamentary Private Secretary, as this is important.
When the Minister launched the new committee on Monday, he failed to say in the press release that in fact the committee was not new. Previously, it was under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Froggatt, when it was called the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health. The Government have taken out the word "Smoking" and substituted the word "Tobacco".
The committee last met in 1988, when it recommended to the Government, in the report that I have here, the need to take further stringent measues on tobacco smoking. The Government did not announce the closure of the committee, but, when members' terms of reference ended in 1988, they did not reappoint those members or appoint new members, but allowed it to wither on the vine.
We have lost five vital years of independent scientific evidence and advice on this issue. It is simply not acceptable for the Minister to announce, in this debate or on Monday, a new scientific committee when he destroyed the previous committee and its work. Let us hope that the new committee--or this reinvention of the old committee--will be given a fair wind and a fair opportunity. It should be publicly accountable, its recommendations should be brought forward more quickly than the Smee report, and there should be no attempt to suppress any of its work or evidence in support of further restrictions on the use of tobacco products.
On sports sponsorship, I am almost unique in the House, in that, as well as being party spokesman on health, I also chair the parliamentary rugby group. Indeed, I am one of the founding members of the group, whose constitution is to enhance and protect the game of rugby league. The parliamentary group unanimously supports the Bill, and I shall explain why. We think that it is an insult to the concept of sport as an effective means of maintaining mental and physical well-being to allow a product with such devastating consequences to our very being to use sport as a vehicle to hide its lethal effects.
In an average rugby league match, players run 5,000 m, and give or take 40 tackles. A 16-stone forward can run 100 m in 11 seconds. Contrast that with the image of smoking, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease and the emaciated 31-year-old weighing six stones at the time of his death.
Only a few months ago, my personal friend, John Tierman, died at the age of 31 of cancer in both lungs through smoking. In his younger years, he was dedicated to sport and playing sport. He was over 6 ft tall, articulate, with a family and a future. He was interested in public life as a councillor, and was loved and respected in his community. He died an emaciated six-stone man because of smoking as a child of 13.
We cannot allow the tobacco industry to use sport and sporting personalities as a deliberate and cynical ploy to
Column 623encourage positive images of its deadly product. The industry recruits 300 new customers a day because it has killed 300 people the previous day. Sport, especially rugby league, must never be bound hand and foot to the tobacco industry.
My sport recognises that changes are necessary and will go along with those changes. The sport will survive but, more important, thousands of young children in Britain will survive with it. That is the biggest health gain that we could ever have in this country. By banning tobacco advertising, as part of a package of measures, we could save countless lives of young people and protect the well-being of their families. That goal is not only worth striving for, but is within the grasp of this House. I appeal to hon. Members to support the Bill.
Mr. David Congdon (Croydon, North-East) : I have listened to this debate with great interest and do not doubt the sincerity of hon. Members who have argued for a ban on advertising. But I am worried that this could be, as other hon. Members have said, the thin end of a long wedge.
The hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) made the revealing comment that he would support any measure in favour of a health gain. I understand that, but the danger of such an approach is that it can be used to justify bans on advertising and, indeed, bans of other products in the future.
In recent years I have watched with growing concern the amazing intolerance that people show towards smoking and smokers. I have no desire to smoke and do not find it attractive in others. We run the risk of showing a greater intolerance towards smokers than towards other parts of society. We should resist that trend. Once those who have adopted an intolerance towards smoking get their way, they will, in my view, move on to something else, whether it be alcohol, fatty foods or whatever. We should watch with great concern those who set themselves up as the health police of this country.
Mr. Tony Banks : The reason why people--as I am--are so bitterly opposed to smoking is that it affects non-smokers. I do not care what the hon. Gentleman wants to do in private, because that has nothing to do with me, but when it starts impacting on my health and makes my clothes and hair stink, I have a right to say that I do not want someone smoking around me.
Mr. Congdon : I am grateful for that intervention, because I was going to mention later passive smoking. I shall mention it now. One of the disturbing things about intolerance, I have to say with great regret, is the way in which certain members of the medical and scientific establishment are prepared in many ways to distort the evidence and present passive smoking as though it is a great certainty. I share the concern of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West that, if one goes into a pub and everyone is smoking, it can affect one's eyes. That is an issue and I am delighted to see that some pubs and restaurants are restricting the level of smoking. But there is a difference between that and having a complete ban on smoking.
In relation to the wider issue of passive smoking, attempts have been made to portray it as though there is a
Column 624clear and significant link between passive smoking and cancer. Indeed, the Government's own publication repeats that statement. An article by a doctor in The Times the other day casts doubt over that link. I am not a medical man, but he advised that there are two types of cancers. He said :
"The commonest are squamous and oat cell cancers The second are adenocarcinomas".
The evidence shows that those who have cancer and have smoked have the first type of cancer cell present, but that non-smokers who have had cancer have the second. His view is that it is pretty unbelievable to suggest that the causes are identical.
That needs to be borne in mind, even though I share the concern of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on the general issue of passive smoking. More research must be undertaken into exactly what the effect is. The most serious issue obviously is the individual's smoking and its impact on their health. Of course, they must be crazy to smoke. They know by now that it kills. I do not dispute that. I believe firmly in a free society and, if one wishes to smoke, the right to end up killing oneself. That is a right and a freedom that one should have.
I take issue with the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), who is the promoter of the Bill. I agree with much of what he said, but he said that advertising is a privilege. I totally reject that view. In a society that depends on the marketing of goods to survive, it is crucial that advertisers have the right to advertise products unless those products are illegal or restricted.
Mr. Alan Howarth (Stratford-on-Avon) : Of course my hon. Friend is right that we should think carefully about limiting freedom of expression, but we do that in various ways. There are existing Government-imposed bans on advertising ; we do not permit freedom of expression such as to incite religious or racial hatred ; and we limit the freedom to breach personal confidence. The principle is not absolute.
I put it to my hon. Friend that it is beyond the bounds of what we should tolerate in a free society that vastly powerful corporations should use all the modern techniques of advertising to pressurise the immature and the impressionable into taking up a habit that is probably lethal to themselves, injurious at least and vastly costly to society. What kind of freedom of expression allows the powerful to pressurise the vulnerable into the "unfreedom" of addiction, that allows people to suffer ill health from passive smoking? Surely the issue is not so much freedom of expression as the abuse of power.
Mr. Congdon : I respect my hon. Friend's views, but the way in which he presented them is revealing. I do not regard the use of advertising in a free society to influence people to use a particular product--or not to--as an abuse of power ; it is their decision. It is nonsense to suggest that advertising somehow forces innocent people to go out and buy a packet of cigarettes.
Dr. Spink : While accepting the principle of freedom, my hon. Friend believes that it carries with it a certain responsibility. What action does he propose to prevent young people who do not make responsible decisions from taking up smoking in the first place?
Column 625I, too, am worried by the fact that young people are still smoking too much. We know that smoking kills : hon. Members have rightly paraded the statistics today. Everyone who smokes now knows the effects of what they are doing. We must ask ourselves what action would have the greatest impact of smoking. My hon. Friend the Minister said that a 10 per cent. price increase would affect consumption by between 3 per cent. and 6 per cent. I applaud the Government's decision to increase tobacco taxes each year by 3 per cent. in real terms : according to the report of the Select Committee on Health--of which I am a member--price has the most significant effect on the prevalence of smoking. I do not endorse the seductive argument that advertising in itself would have a conclusive impact. I question the extent to which a "voluntary code" is in fact voluntary, when the threat of possible legislation to tighten it is always present. I would support an advertising ban if it could be shown that we could not meet the health education targets in any other way ; we should take all possible measures to meet those important targets.
We have heard much evidence today about the impact of bans in other countries. One of the most revealing features of the Smee report--which was designed to come up with some conclusive evidence in one or other direction --was the inability to demonstrate a conclusive link between smoking and advertising.
The Smee report is not as conclusive as some would suggest. We have been told that bans have been introduced in many countries, but the only countries that seem to be prayed in aid in favour of a ban are Finland, Norway, Canada and New Zealand. It is true that there has been an impact on tobacco consumption in those countries, but the scale of that impact has been disputed. Indeed, it is fair to say that in each of the countries other measures were introduced before or at the same time. It is difficult, therefore, to isolate the direct effect of an advertising ban.
"the banning of advertising was followed by a fall in smoking on a scale which cannot reasonably be attributed to other factors."
Mr. William Cash (Stafford) : My hon. Friend mentioned Canada. Does he agree that one of the most difficult problems facing it is the vast amount of smuggling across its border with the United States? It took measures directly to reduce consumption, but all that that did was to increase smuggling.
I have listened at great length to the tobacco industry's argument that it is trying to affect only the market share of
Column 626its brand. I have always thought that that argument is nonsense. Other advertisers certainly try to sell more of their products and, if possible, increase their market share.
Mr. Hendry : Does my hon. Friend buy petrol when he does not need to do so because he has seen an Esso advert? Does his wife buy washing powder when she does not need to wash his clothes because she has seen an advertisement for Daz? Does he buy toothpaste when he does not need it because he has seen an advert for Mentadent P? Consumers of such products switch loyalty and the same applies to tobacco companies.
Mr. Congdon : The difficulty is whether demand for the goods is, to use an economic term, elastic or inelastic. Demand for tobacco is elastic, whereas, unless one unnecessarily drives around the block 10 times, one will not buy more petrol than one needs.
I emphasise that I believe that there is a link, but the issue is its scale and whether, in a free society, it justifies banning tobacco advertising. Experience in the four countries quoted shows that the range of reduction, even if one accepts the figures with all the qualifications, is between 4 per cent. in Canada and 9.4 per cent. in Norway. It is possible to conclude, therefore, that an advertising ban might reduce consumption by between 4 and 9 per cent. I must emphasise, however, that Smee did not attempt to estimate the effect of an advertising ban in this country.
The figures need to be considered in the context of the reductions that we must achieve to reach the "Health of the Nation" targets, which require a reduction in consumption of 35 per cent. for men and 29 per cent. for women, and in the context of the amazing reductions that we have achieved in consumption in the past 20 years. I accept that we must be cautious when considering the impact of advertising on young people. I share hon. Members' concern that the reduction in tobacco consumption among young people has been lower than that among other groups. The reason for that is probably peer group pressure. I am less convinced that advertising is the key to the problem. Indeed, we have already heard that if parents smoke it is more likely that their children will smoke. The link is significant. That is obviously a cause for concern.
Ms Glenda Jackson : One of my constituents, who is a senior child psychotherapist, has written to me, arguing that children and young people who are emotionally vulnerable are especially sensitive to the pressures that advertising places on them--rather more so than to peer pressure-- because cigarette advertising presents to young, vulnerable people the image of a lifestyle that they themselves are not capable of creating. It is not peer pressure that attracts them ; it is not even the cigarette. Young people are influenced by an image of sophistication, of the ability to cope with life's problems, of being themselves beautiful and attractive. Great pressure is thus exerted, solely by advertising.
Mr. Congdon : If one follows that line of argument, where does one stop? Does one ban the advertising of alcohol? Does one ban the advertising of fatty foods? Does one ban the advertising of dangerous toys?
Column 627anything. One can justify the ban on anything on the grounds that it might or might not affect some young person living in some constituency. We should not throw out of the window the arguments for freedom so easily and so casually.
Mr. John Carlisle : We have heard a catalogue of opinions from the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson), who has obviously been answering her constituency post for most of the morning--to the delight, perhaps, of some of us. She has given individual opinions. Perhaps we should take more notice of a totally unbiased, non-political census that was made by the Office-- [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) shouts at me, but I am sure that he would agree that the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, which I think he has quoted on previous occasions, concluded in its article "Why Children Start Smoking" that advertising was not one of the primary seven reasons, many of which have been paraded in the House. The glamour factor that the hon. Lady described--rather incongruously, I thought--was not one of the reasons that were mentioned by children in that context.
Mr. Congdon : I welcome that intervention. Research shows that, although advertising leads to greater awareness of tobacco among young people, the evidence in terms of consumption among them is less than conclusive.
If at any stage we go down the road--I would not wish to do so--of banning advertising, it should be a decision for this Parliament and we should not be influenced by the suggestion of a European directive on the subject. [ Hon. Members :-- "Hear, hear."] If subsidiarity means anything, it must mean the right to decide whether we ban the advertising of tobacco. I emphasise the argument that was made earlier ; we do not need lessons from Brussels when the European Union is subsidising tobacco to the tune of £1 billion per year. I know that not many hon. Members have had the opportunity this morning to speak against an advertising ban. I recognise that we are in a minority, but it is important to stand up for the freedom of people to advertise a legal product. I oppose the Bill.
Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West) : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. A press release was issued by the Department of Trade and Industry this morning, on which I seek your guidance because it could imperil the future of many jobs in my constituency. It was announced that an entire agency, the Accounts Services Agency, is to be put out to public tender. Those jobs are precious. They involve billions of pounds of public money and the ethics of the public service should be continued in that organisation. Has the DTI asked for a statement to be made in the House so that we can question that decision?