The Tory conference was in Birmingham.   I attended many side events including several with John Redwood and Jacob Rees-Mogg as speakers.

John Redwood was Secretary of State for Wales in 2005 when the earlier UK legislation was passed and he succeeded in weakening the advertising of infant formula section (article 17). So, in addition to Follow-on Formula advertising, the law allowed advertising of infant formula in baby care publications distributed through the health care system.

He has also, in the past, been an advocate of a ‘regulatory budget’ – if you bring a new law in you must get rid of an old one. During one of the side meetings I asked why those favouring a hard Brexit never talked about the need for stronger regulations to protect human health – marketing and food safety controls for example.   John Redwood cleverly twisted my question round (18.21) by saying: “When the UK leaves the EU we will inherit all the laws and we will  then  ‘at our leisure’ be asked to decide what to do with them … Marketing controls, are a very good example of the domestic controls we could have. Because you and others who feel as you do can say to the British Parliament, we want these standards, we don’t think the EU ones are good enough.”

At another side event, (recording 87) John Redwood and others  gave examples of how governments interfere and get in the way of business progress and privatisation.  I asked why they presented government always as a negative force. Surely its essential that the state does step in – after all it has a responsibility/obligation/ duty to protect human rights and ensure that business don’t harm health. It seems to me that we are being encouraged to become a nation of manic shoppers.

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