Alex Cunningham, Member of Parliament for Stockton North, is keeping up the pressure in his battle to protect the health of the UK’s children and young people by outlawing smoking in private vehicles when children are present by again pressing the Government to take real action.
Alex recently called on the Government to take meaningful action to prevent the harmful effects of second-hand smoke following the launch of another advertising campaign warning of the dangers.
Speaking during the Report Stage of the Children and Families Bill, Alex highlighted the child protection issues that subjecting young people to second-hand smoke raises. Despite his suggested New Clause 17 not being included in the Bill, Alex has maintained pressure on the Government to legislate in this area and is hopeful that hopes that the Lords will help continue the fight.
“I was pleased to have received a letter this week from Edward Timpson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, with his reassurances that Members on all sides of the House of Commons wish to see smoking in cars carrying children eradicated.
“I was therefore disappointed that, despite acknowledging the huge successes of introducing smoke-free legislation in 2007 and the need for parents to recognise the risks of second hand smoke, the Minister cannot appreciate the case for extending legislation to private cars carrying children and has refused to legislate in this area.
“As I have argued many times before, in situations that impact directly on the health of children and young people, robust action is required to achieve real results. However, this Government has so far demonstrated that it prefers words to action. This is not acceptable.
“It is time that we heeded public and medical opinion, and got out of the slow lane. There is a strong consensus amongst expert medical groups about the need for legislating in this area, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the Royal College of Physicians.
“I will continue to push for proper regulation in this area, and will work with colleagues in both Houses to make sure that we bring this about.”