Christopher Chope

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Christopher Chope became the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Christchurch (Dorset, England) in May 1997.

From 1983 to 1992, Chope was the MP for Southampton.

Relationship with Tobacco Industry

Accepted Tobacco Hospitality

Chope has taken tobacco industry hospitality on several occasions.

2015 - Chope accepted two tickets and hospitality to the Wimbledon tennis tournament worth £440 from British American Tobacco (BAT).[1] Chope also accepted one ticket and hospitality for the England versus Australia Rugby World Cup match from Japan Tobacco International (JTI), valued at £1,650.[1]

2014 - Chope accepted two tickets to the Chelsea Flower show worth £1,404.00 from JTI.[2]

2013 - Chope accepted two lots of hospitality from JTI. In June he accepted two tickets to the Glyndebourne Opera Festival worth £1,534, and in November he accepted two tickets to Twickenham (rugby) worth £400.[3]

Chope’s actions breached the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which the UK Government is a signatory.

The FCTC states that parties should “interact with the tobacco industry only when and to the extent strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products”.[4]

For more details, see Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians.

Voted Against Plain Packaging

A 2015 report[5] from the BMJ reported that 38 MPs had accepted tobacco industry hospitality worth over £60,000 since 2010. The report further revealed that 20 of those 38 MPs (including Chope) had voted against the introduction of plain packaging, a tobacco control measure vociferously opposed by the tobacco industry.[6][7][8]

Chope was also one of the 50 MPs who in 2012 wrote to then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley expressing serious concerns over plain packaging proposals.[9] The letter claimed:

"There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit; no country in the world has yet to introduce it. However, such a measure could have extremely negative consequences elsewhere. The proposal will be a smuggler’s charter. … this policy threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector, and over 65,000 valued jobs in the associated supply chain. … Given the continued difficult economic climate, businesses should not be subjected to further red tape and regulation"

Publication of the Chantler Review 2014

On 3 April 2014, the Chantler review of the evidence for plain packaging was published.[10]

Sir Chantler concluded in contrast:

Having reviewed the evidence it is in my view highly likely that standardised packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking and implausible that it would increase the consumption of tobacco. I am persuaded that branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke and in consolidating the habit irrespective of the intentions of the industry. (p6)[10]

The Health Minister Jane Ellison announced in the House of Commons that the Government would, as a result of the review, conduct another brief consultation on the proposed legislation.[11] During the House of Commons debate on 3 April 2014, Chope asked Ellison: “What evidence is there that young people do not access illegal drugs as much because they are sold in plain packages?”[12] When Chope asked this question he first stated that: “I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.”

Ellison referred Chope to the Chantler Review “where he will find 30-odd pages of extremely well-argued, authoritative comment by someone who has looked very deeply and widely at the issues over the past few months.”

Government Announces Intention to Proceed with Plain Packaging

On 21 January 2015 Ellison announced that the government was to bring plain packaging regulations before the May 2015 General Election. According to a piece in the British media, Chope responded to the news as “very disappointing”, “the wrong decision” and a decision that “does not reflect the evidence.”[13]

Tabled Private Members Bill to Roll Back E-cigarette Regulation

On 5 September 2017, Chope tabled a Private Members’ Bill to roll back e-cigarette regulation in the UK.[14]

The purpose of the Bill was to:

“Make provision for the regulation of the sale and use of electronic cigarettes; to exempt electronic cigarettes from UK law derived from the Tobacco Products Directive; and for connected purposes.”[14]

According to market research company EcigIntelligence, Chope is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes, and his proposal one of a “list of Brexit-inspired legislative proposals.[15] Although unlikely to be adopted according to the market research company, Chope’s proposal “could provide an opportunity for the industry to have some of the issues facing it discussed in the UK Parliament”.[15]

Affiliations

Chope is a council member of The Freedom Association (TFA), a libertarian campaign group.[16]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Profile of Christopher Chope on UK Parliament website.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests as at 5 September 2016, 4 September 2015, accessed October 2017
  2. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 9 February 2015 report, 9 February 2015, accessed February 2015
  3. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 20 January 2014 report, 20 January 2014, accessed February 2015
  4. Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2008, accessed November 2017
  5. BMJ Investigation reveals how big tobacco is able to woo parliamentarians, BMJ, Press Release 21 May 2015, accessed October 2017
  6. K.A. Evans-Reeves, J.L. Hatchard, A.B. Gilmore, ‘It will harm business and increase illicit trade’: an evaluation of the relevance, quality and transparency of evidence submitted by transnational tobacco companies to the UK consultation on standardised packaging 2012, Tobacco Control, 2015 24:e168-e177
  7. J.L. Hatchard, G.J. Fooks, K.A. Evans-Reeves, et al, A critical evaluation of the volume, relevance and quality of evidence submitted by the tobacco industry to oppose standardised packaging of tobacco products, BMJ Open, 2014;4:e003757. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003757
  8. J. Smith, K. Lee, Protecting the plain packaging consultation from tobacco industry interference, CMAJ, 2016 Oct 4; 188(14): E340-E341
  9. M. Barrett, 34 Conservative MPs write to Andrew Lansley to express “serious concerns” about plain tobacco packaging, Conservative Home, 2 July 2012, accessed February 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 C. Chantler, Standardised packaging of tobacco: Report of the independent review undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, Kings College London, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  11. BBC, Government to move ahead with standardised cigarette packs, BBC News, 3 April 2014, accessed April 2014
  12. House of Commons Debates 3 April 2014: Tobacco Products (standardised packaging), Volume no:578, Part No:148, 3 April 2014, accessed February 2015
  13. C. Henry, David Cameron facing Tory backlash over plain cigarette packs, City AM, 23 January 2015, accessed February 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 Electronic Cigarettes (Regulation) Bill 2017-19 ], UK Parliament website, undated, accessed March 2018
  15. 15.0 15.1 F. Dawson, British MP seeks to free fruit, vegetables, and e-cigs from EU shackles, EcigIntelligence website, 8 September 2017, accessed March 2018
  16. The Freedom Association, Council & Management Committee,2016, accessed January 2018