Friday, July 19, 2013

The Anna Sobury Collection

The past history of the Tobacco Products Directive is interesting stuff.Authored by a man who was eventually sacked for being a corrupt official and soliciting bribes,it was nonetheless picked up ...

What's shocking from here in America is that such vast corruption in connection with this is ongoing and not being reported on by the mainstream media.

One would think that they aren't reporting it because it's just a tobacco issue and they think no one is watching.

Plenty of people are watching,I expect this is just the tip of the Anna Sobury/Andrew Black iceberg.

House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee

Ms Soubry refers to article 24 (plain packaging) and then says "...I would have thought you would have commended us for doing all that we could to ensure greater sovereignty for this parliament..." Clearly she believes that the other articles in the draft directive are completely irrelevant or she does not understand what she has done. She says "...some of us believe that these public health measures are very important..."  It would be nice if she considered the whole directive rather than just article 24.
Mr Philips: "The draft directive had been deposited in December 2012 wrote this committee in January 2013... and then there is no correspondence at all from you or the department until June 2013, despite this committee having raised a series of questions a report to the house and despite the fact that you must have known that matters were progressing..."

Ms Soubry replied "...I don't think it's as simple as that..." [Andrew Black then intervenes]

Mr Philips: "... why did the write round [to the government departments] take so long that this committee heard nothing for 6 months?..." 
It beggars belief that a junior member of government has done this without, it seems, any consultation with stakeholders, ministers in other government departments, or the very committee that was set up to scrutinise EU Directives.
One member of the Scrutiny Committee criticised her for asking for a scrutiny waiver and accused her of failing to keep the Committee informed.
Another pointed out that the Committee was charged with carrying out scrutiny and when that opportunity was denied they could not carry out that work.
A third said it was “remarkable” that the Minister did not seem to know that nothing had happened between January and June in terms of the European Scrutiny Committee’s position.
Soubry said she took full responsibility for the decision she took, and she was sorry that things were not done in the way that they should have been.
Then ask yourself this - where is the outrage from Labour? Yesterday at PMQs, Labour MP after Labour MP rose to condemn what they imagined was a case of one individual interfering in government business.

On the same afternoon, though, a Tory minister was excluding parliament entirely and committing the country to EU laws on the say-so of, well, herself and herself alone.

If Labour are going to allow such sleazy actions from a Conservative - and you know how they love to attack Conservatives - without so much as a murmur of criticism, you have to wonder which industry's lobbyists might be pulling theirstrings, eh?
Be amazed that Anna Soubry makes "no apology" for her actions against the British people (except for an apology to the committee itself), for deciding that only she could save us all from ourselves. Be astounded that Andrew Black says his wilful failure to answer the committee's questions for over SIX MONTHS is merely a "learning point." Be gobsmacked over the fact that Soubry didn't have to do anything at all -- the UK could have abstained -- but Irish Health Minister James Reilly and Andrew Black had convinced Soubry that something had to done right away, because if they didn't act then you couldn't trust the Lithuanians to do anything when they assume the European presidency.

And they did all of that simply because they just had to have plain packaging in the UK. Because they couldn't afford to let MPs have a debate on it. What they truly did was agree to ban menthol cigarettes, without giving MPs and tobacco consumers a voice in the matter, and at the same time agreed to completely shaft vapers by effectively banning e-cigs by regulating them as medical devices, without giving MPs and the British public a voice in the matter.
Not only did she give a national position on the Tobacco Products Directive without UK Members of Parliament being able to debate them, but she failed for the preceding six months to keep the committee advised of progress. She thereby contributed significantly to the fact that time ran out for proper scrutiny and debate.

This is open and unembarrassed abuse of process – Soubry says she feels the committee ought to be grateful to her setting out to create conditions whereby the UK government will be able to come back and introduce plain packaging. She somehow attempts to make the case that her abuse of the parliamentary process was designed to protect Westminster's sovereignty.

Will the UK opposition start asking pointed questions? 
 This leaves us in the position of a rush to judgement over the TPD, before the end of the Irish presidency, without proper debate in the UK. This has resulted in a swathe of horse-trading between health ministers from member states, including those from Sweden who have accepted TPD endorsement in order to retain SNUS flavourings in Sweden (for example).
The UK government, via Anna Soubry, have taken part in those discussions while in breach of scrutiny procedure and without recourse for parliament to debate and discuss the meat of the TPD.

We need to withdraw and step back from any agreements made by Anna Soubry until such a time as scrutiny requirements have been met and MPs have had the opportunity to discuss and debate the TPD in parliament. Voices have failed to be heard.
Failure to do this will result in MPs being denied from representing their constituents.