Minister Misleads Parliament and Should Resign

Freedom To Choose (Scotland) demands the resignation of the Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, for blatantly misleading MSPs in the Health and Sport Committee in Stage 1 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill.(1)
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* Leith - Edinburgh - Scotland

Sept. 25, 2009 - PRLog -- Shona Robison failed to correct a statement she had provided to the Health and Sport Committee evidence sessions where she claimed, “For me, the fundamental question is whether tobacco is an appropriate product to sell in a vending machine.  We would not sell other age-related dangerous products in vending machines, so why do we sell cigarettes in that way?”(2)

The convener of the Health and Sport Committee, Christine Grahame, was reported as saying that the Scottish Government should bring tobacco ‘into line’(3) with alcohol by banning its sale from vending machines.  

However, despite these statements, other age-restricted products are not banned from vending machines as documentation(4) from NACMO (The National Association of Cigarette Vending Machine Operators) correctly points out, “alcohol, lighters and aspirin are all legally vended through machines across Scotland.  These products can pose significant health risks yet the Government is singling out tobacco vending machines.”

Eddie Douthwaite, chairman of Freedom To Choose (Scotland) raised this issue the previous day at Holyrood’s Smoking Conference(5) held in Edinburgh.  

“I asked the Minister whether she would inform Parliament of the discrepancy in her evidence before the Stage 1 debate,” he states.  “The Minister would not answer this specific point and merely reiterated why the Bill should be passed.”

Earlier in the proceedings Shona Robison was forced to correct the statement that there was only one tobacco vending machine company based in Scotland (there are actually 15 such companies).  On this occasion however, the Minister decided not to inform MSPs of her incorrect evidence, which was exposed by Freedom To Choose (Scotland)(6) and NACMO.  She is therefore accused of misleading Parliament, and should resign.

Spokesperson: Eddie Douthwaite: 07712 814238

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Source:Freedom To Choose (Scotland)
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