Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence

Letter from the President Federation Internationale De L'Automobile to the Clerk of the Committee (TB 36B)

  Having read the transcript of the proceedings of the Health Committee of 20 January 2000, I think I should perhaps try to make three things clear.

  First, although Mr Ecclestone met the prime minister only twice in the sense of holding any sort of discussion with him (which I think was the question), he met him in the sense of merely shaking hands on at least one other occasion at a Downing Street reception.

  Secondly, I was not asked how many times I had met Mr Blair. Had I been, the answer would have been on four occasions for a proper discussion: the first, I think in 1995, when I visited him at his home in Islington; then at Silverstone in July 1996, when he and his family spent the day with me (and we briefly visited Mr Ecclestone in his motorhome); the Downing Street meeting of 16 October 1997 when Mr Ecclestone said very little and I did most of the taking (this was the only time tobacco sponsorship was discussed); and most recently in June 1998 at Downing Street, when he received me together with the president of the International Olympic Committee and other leaders of world sport. In addition, I met him in the sense of shaking hands on at least two other occasions. To put this in context, I also met Mr Kohl (twice) and Professor Prodi when they were respectively German chancellor and Italian prime minister as well as numerous other European politicians on the subject of tobacco sponsorship.

  Thirdly, and finally, the report which Mr Amess twice described as a "report on tobacco sponsorship of Formula One racing" is in reality almost certainly a document entitled "Playing to Win" which, as far as I know, is the only report relating to motor sport produced by the Institute of Public Policy Research. This report is about the success of the British motor sport industry. If it is indeed the report Mr Amess had in mind, I am afraid he got the subject matter as well as the title wrong.

10 February 2000

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