In the House of Lords Lord Callanan has put down a motion (link to text of press release) which if passed would stop implementation of the TPD in the UK. This is a critical development.
Why this is different
- Lord Callanan: is a hugely experienced senior politician. In the European Parliament he led the successful efforts by which MEPs blocked compulsory medicinal regulation that would have wiped out of vaping. Nobody has been more effective at defending vaping than him.
- Procedural: unless Lord Callanan is forced by pressure from Downing Street to withdraw his motion there will be a debate and a vote. Under parliamentary rules if the Lords agree to this motion the statutory instrument implementing the TPD in the UK will fall. Such procedures are called “fatal motions” because the regulations get killed outright and do not go back to the Commons. (For geeks: the Lords have until 10 June to vote against this delegated legislation. That will be the end of the 40 days of “praying time” during which a successful motion can block the statutory instrument. This is the case even though the law has previously gone into effect as the TPD will on 20 May.)
- Politics: the Lords are strongly against the TPD rules on vaping as was shown in last week’s debate. (Lords debate)
- Government and Opposition: they know there are severe problems with the TPD’s rules on vaping. Government officials have acknowledged that they could increase smoking and the health minister told the Lords that he hoped enforcement would be lax. The shadow minister said that he could not understand why e-cigarettes were included in the TPD and described opposition to vaping as “bonkers”. Two years ago his boss, Jeremy Corbyn, signed a parliamentary motion against the TPD rules on vaping.
- Momentum: as politicians see increasing vaper pressure they are already trying to be creative in finding a solution. Technically the EU could start “infraction proceedings” against the UK for not fully implementing Article 20 but this would look very bad. Brussels wants to make friends not encourage anti-EU sentiment.
Why we will succeed
- There are more of us: In 2013 when vaper power helped swing the day in the European Parliament there were 1.3 million vapers in the UK. Now there are 2.8 million of us.
- Political concern: Westminster and Brussels have reason to be helpful. The politicians are seeing the evidence that some of the rules are no longer fit for purpose. More fundamentally they do not want vapers to decide their referendum votes on this issue.
What you can do
If ever there was a day for vaper power this is it. So let us respectfully urge our leaders to use the opportunity of Lord Callanan’s motion to rethink the specific problems we have with TPD.
- Tweet: send your support for the #LordsVapeVote to @Number10gov @jeremycorbyn @MartinCallanan
- Petition: here is one ready to go: Petition to Parliament
Please also go ahead with your ideas too - you are the experts on social media.
When vapers work together they are an unstoppable force. If we do not take today’s opportunity presented by Lord Callanan’s gutsy initiative then we might literally have to wait until around 2026 for the next Tobacco Products Directive to be implemented for even a chance of improvement. So wait ten years - or tweet today like you have never tweeted before.
With thanks to @campaign100k