Last Wednesday, wearing a white t-shirt and ‘plain’ plastic mask, I marched with 100 retailers through Westminster to tell the government why introducing plain packaging would be a disasterous decision.
It was the day at the heart of the week when the tide turned on plain packaging and the vote result was blow wide open.
Opening the rally, Nick de Bois MP spoke of the disquiet in all levels of the house on the matter. Foreign secretary Philip Hammond wants evidence to support policy, he said, and there are two compelling pieces in this week’s RN. Both 99% of respondents to last summer’s consultation and the general public firmly say no to plain packs.[pull_quote_right]Lobby your MP, tell them what impact plain packaging will have on your business and give them something to fight with[/pull_quote_right]
Meanwhile, RN this week identifies a number of cabinet members and key individuals whose support for plain packaging is in huge doubt.
This includes a government whip, an MP who now works for the Department of Health and another who advises government on law. With the expected impact on tax revenue and the illicit trade, home secretary Theresa May and chancellor George Osborne also have every reason to vote against plain packaging in the next few weeks.
At the rally, Gerry Sutcliffe MP told me he also knows of 111 peers that have indicated they will be defying their parties when it comes to voting. Whether they are true to their word and vote for their principles or their careers remains to be seen.
Either way, be clear: the vote is winnable, but you need to work together to achieve it. Lobby your MP, tell them what impact plain packaging will have on your business and give them something to fight with.