From left to right: Alex Norris MP, Sarah Owen MP, Justin Madders MP, Karyn Smith MP, and Mary Kelly Foy MP
From left to right: Alex Norris MP, Sarah Owen MP, Justin Madders MP, Karyn Smith MP, and Mary Kelly Foy MP

On 2nd November the Health and Care Bill Committee finalised their consideration of amendments brought forward by members of the Bill Committee, including Mary’s amendments on the provision of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

The Bill would make it possible for private companies to sit on NHS boards and make decisions about local trusts. This is something that Labour are opposed to.

It was discussed at length at committee, with the Labour members of the Bill Committee making efforts to amend the Bill so that it would not privatise the NHS through the back door.

The Bill was passed through committee without having any opposition amendments adopted, a result of the Conservative members of the committee only voting for government approved amendments.

Mary tabled several amendments pertaining to her role as co-chair of the smoking health APPG. These amendments would have increased the age for which it is legal to purchase cigarettes and would have closed the loophole that allows e-cigarettes to be distributed for free to those under-18. It is currently illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under-18s, but it is not illegal to give them away for free to under-18s.

Another amendment would have required cigarette makers to print a health warning on the side of individual cigarettes.

Mary said

We know that cigarettes are cancer sticks and kill half the people who use them. So I hope that health warnings on cigarettes would deter people from being tempted to smoke in the first place, especially young people, I hope it would encourage some smokers to give up because if they are putting that in their mouth and seeing that message on cigarettes every time they smoke, I hope it would have the desired effect.

Mary’s amendments were covered by several news outlets including the Guardian.

The conclusion of the Health and Care Bill committee means that the Bill now moves to report stage. Mary looks forward to getting back into the chamber and personally scrutinising the government after committing her time to scrutinising the Health and Care Bill.

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