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12 Oct 2009 : Column 107

Julie Morgan: I was able to visit Ireland with Action on Smoking and Health just before the new law was introduced there. Does my hon. Friend agree that it has been introduced in a pain-free way, that most of the costs have been paid by the tobacco manufacturers and that businesses have not suffered?

Gillian Merron: I agree with my hon. Friend and thank her for making that point.

Mrs. Moon: I attended a meeting with the Porthcawl cancer research campaign. The group gave me a petition collected from across the town, which said very strongly that people wanted the removal of tobacco advertising displays from our shops. It felt very strongly-it consisted of a group of smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers-that the temptation was there, especially for young people, and that is something that we must remove.

Gillian Merron: I am grateful for my hon. Friend's support on that point.

We are particularly aware of the way in which the economic climate has affected small business, which is why we will not commence this legislation until 2011 for larger stores, and 2013 for smaller shops. We understand, too, that smaller convenience stores replace their tobacco gantries every five years or so, and thus for many of them changes could be made in the normal cycle. I want to reassure the House, however, that we will keep implementation under close review, and we will monitor levels of compliance and the effect of the policy.

We are working hard to support the convenience store sector, recognising that local shops are at the heart of our communities and can support our public health aims. For example, the "Change 4 Life" scheme, which brings fresh fruit and vegetables to the fore in the most disadvantaged communities, has been so successful that some shops have chosen to fund themselves to join in. There is an opportunity for retailers to become an active part of a movement for better health, and I therefore urge the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik) not to press his amendment.

New clauses 1 and 4 deal with proxy purchasing. We all agree that reducing children's access to tobacco is a priority, and I very much appreciate the intent behind the new clauses. However, creating an offence for proxy purchasing of tobacco would be difficult to implement and enforce. The new clauses would require proof of intent at the point of purchase, and proof of a young person asking an adult to buy tobacco on their behalf.

8.30 pm

Sandra Gidley rose-

Gillian Merron: Will the hon. Lady allow me to make the case?

That evidence would be needed to secure a conviction. While there has been a proxy purchasing offence for alcohol since November 2005, it is a difficult offence to prove, and the Home Office accepts that it is not being enforced as rigorously as we would like. I would also hesitate to place a new requirement on local authorities that would require them to observe shops and customers without significant benefits being achieved. Better enforcement of existing legislation is likely to be more effective than adding another offence that is difficult to enforce.

12 Oct 2009 : Column 108

I would also like to make a technical point about the wording of new clause 4, which appears to have been lifted directly from the Licensing Act 2003, and speaks of members of clubs and tobacco consumption "on relevant premises". We know that smoking inside premises open to the public, including members' clubs, is no longer permitted under smoke-free legislation, so the wording will not work for the purpose for which it is intended.

Purchasing tobacco with intent to supply young people is only one small part of a wider, more complex problem. Children are given cigarettes that have not been specifically purchased for them, they pass them on to one another at school, and they get them from vending machines. Our new tobacco control strategy will set out our plans to tackle this complex problem. I can assure hon. Members that if it becomes clear that legislation would prove to be beneficial, I would indeed seek to make the case.

Sandra Gidley: Is the Minister saying that the Government's legislation on alcohol proxy sales is ineffective? Perhaps she could tell us how many prosecutions there have been if she is indeed saying that the policy has been such a failure that she cannot introduce similar mechanisms for tobacco?

Gillian Merron: As I have said, the Home Office has acknowledged that the legislation has not been as easy to enforce as it would like.

Mike Penning: The principle is exactly the same, and an identical piece of legislation has been proposed this evening. The 2003 Act is working, particularly in Cambridge, to which I alluded earlier. Where there is the will-people actually want to do it-it can be done. Running away from the fact that this is going on is not the answer.

Gillian Merron: We are not running away-we are saying that we are going to do better. I want to assure hon. Members that I very much understand the problem at hand. I urge them not to press their new clauses, and I look forward to the new tobacco control strategy, which will be far more comprehensive.

The provisions in the Bill seek to restrict or ban tobacco vending machines. The question before the House is how far it wants to go and how fast. These are finely balanced considerations which reflect the strength of feeling on this issue. To clarify, amendments 2 and 9 would compel the national authorities of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to make regulations on vending machines under clauses 22 and 23. It is not possible to accept amendments 2 and 9, which would change the wording from "may" to "shall", as the word "shall" would place a legal obligation on the appropriate national authority to regulate. The adoption of regulations would be subject to parliamentary approval. If Parliament or the relevant Assembly refused to approve any regulations that were laid, the appropriate national authority would be faced with a continuing obligation to try and make regulations, knowing that Parliament is unlikely to approve them. That would create legal uncertainty and the prospect of continuing legal challenge for not having made regulations.

Amendments 4 and 10, too, would create legal uncertainty, as the circumstances in which the powers could be used in those amendments are unclear. Amendments 17 and 18 seek to restrict the location of
12 Oct 2009 : Column 109
vending machines to areas used by over-18s. In practice, matters are not so straightforward, as places that are for over-18s in the evening may be open to young people during the day. The remaining amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) and by the hon. Member for Colchester (Bob Russell) would seek an outright ban on vending machines in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Government remain seriously concerned about young people accessing tobacco from vending machines. Currently they are the usual source of cigarettes for 10 per cent. of 11 to 15-year-olds who say they smoke.

We have heard a range of arguments about how far we should go to control access to vending machines. We know one thing for sure: the evidence for action is clear. The Government believe that we can place requirements on vending machines that will be effective, proportionate and deliverable in preventing under-age sales and balance the views of all concerned. However, I ask right hon. and hon. Members not to press amendments 2, 4, 9, 10, 17 and 18. On the remaining amendments, I note that my right hon. Friend may wish to test the will of the House.

New clause 6, tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Frank Dobson), would compel the Secretary of State to require all tobacco companies to release information about their marketing and research activities. I appreciate the sentiment behind the amendment, but before the Government could implement such a measure, we would need to consider carefully the burdens placed on business and Government alike, confidentiality, proportionality and, most importantly, its effectiveness. On balance, we cannot accept the amendment, so I ask my right hon. Friend not to press new clause 6.

New clause 7 would compel the Secretary of State to consult on the introduction of plain packaging requirements or restrictions on the branding on packaging. I have sympathy with the aims of the amendment. We have already stated that the Government will continue to keep tobacco packaging under close review. There is emerging evidence that branding and design of tobacco packaging may increase brand awareness among young people. The new strategy on tobacco control will consider a range of options for protecting children and people who smoke from misleading or promotional messages and packaging, and we will ensure that the evidence, which is still wanting, on plain packaging is further developed. On that basis, I ask the hon. Member for Romsey (Sandra Gidley) not to press new clause 7.

The Government remain committed to cutting preventable death and disease from smoking. I sincerely hope that the votes tonight will back us up in our efforts.

Mike Penning: We could have done with a lot longer this evening to debate these amendments and new clauses, but the crucial thing is that the will of the House is tested.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

The House divided: Ayes 193, Noes 279.
Division No. 210]
[8.37 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael

Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Duddridge, James
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howell, John
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Luff, Peter
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
McCrea, Dr. William
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence

Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Alan
Smith, Chloe
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Teather, Sarah
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Sir Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Angela Watkinson and
Mr. Philip Dunne

Ainger, Nick
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Griffith, Nia
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, rh John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, rh Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, rh Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh David
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, rh Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Lindsay
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew

Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, rh Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spink, Bob
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, rh Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Kerry McCarthy and
Steve McCabe
Question accordingly negatived.
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12 Oct 2009 : Column 113

Clause 2

Duty to have regard to NHS Constitution

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: I beg to move amendment 19, page 2, line 3, at end insert

'and the core principles of the NHS.

(1A) The core principles of the NHS are that-

(a) the NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all;

(b) access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual's ability to pay;

(c) the NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism;

(d) NHS services must reflect the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers;

(e) the NHS works across organisational boundaries and in partnership with other organisations in the interests of patients, local communities and the wider population;

(f) the NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers' money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources; and

(g) the NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients it serves.'.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment 15, page 3, line 6, clause 3, leave out subsection (2) and insert-

'(2) The Secretary of State must undertake a short review of the NHS Constitution within the first two years of operation and, thereafter, at least once in any period of 10 years the Secretary of State must carry out a full review (a "10 year review").'.

Amendment 20, page 4, line 9, clause 4, at end insert-

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