11th Hour Hope For UK Vapers?
Article extracted from http://www.ecita.org.uk
‘Fatal Motion’ tabled in the House of Lords. Is this the end of TPD Article 20 for the UK?
19, May, 2016
VAPERS OF THE UK: NOW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO TAKE POSITIVE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO VAPE!!
In an astonishing eleventh hour move, Lord Callanan – who many will remember as former MEP Martin Callanan, one of a small group who fought so valiantly to prevent Article 20 from being dragged up from the bowels of hell and put into law – has tabled a ‘fatal motion’ to kill off the TPD, and prevent its being implemented into UK law.
Make no mistake about it, this is a critical development, so let’s examine why:
As already discussed, Lord Callanan was a leading voice in the successful efforts to block compulsory medicinal regulation at the European Parliament vote in October 2013 – medicinal regulation which would have completely wiped out any hope of legal vaping, leaving us with nothing but the black market to turn to. He is a hugely experienced senior politician, and we believe it is entirely fair to say that no other politician has been more effective at defending vaping than he has.
Under ‘Motions relating to Delegated Legislation’, we can read the glorious official wording:
Procedurally, there will be a debate in the House of Lords (yes, another one – we’re sure everyone is still enjoying the last Lords debate (video (link is external) and transcript (link is external)) on this issue, led by another Vapers’ Hero, Viscount Ridley), but crucially, this debate will be followed by a vote. Parliamentary rules dictate that, 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 are killed outright and do not go back to the Commons.
(A note for fellow Political Geeks: the Lords have until 10th June to vote against this delegated legislation. That will mark 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 will have gone into effect from tomorrow, 20th May 2016.)
Although ECITA remains firmly opposed to the provisions relating to vaping products in the TPD, we do support regulation for the industry. However, we believe it should be fit for purpose and proportionate, not flung together behind closed doors at the last minute – as happened with the TPD.
The only thing which could stop this motion being debated and voted on would be if Lord Callanan were pressurised (perhaps by Downing Street?) to withdraw his motion.
It seems unlikely that Lord Callanan would bow to such pressure, however, since he has clearly already decided that tabling this ‘fatal motion’ is the right thing to do.
But what’s the political context for this vote? Well, we heard from a fairly long list of peers during last week’s debate what their views on vaping are – and they were all very supportive. Even the minister (despite being rightly accused of being ‘mealy mouthed’ about it). However, all members of the Upper House will have the opportunity to vote on this motion, and some of them may not be so enlightened as those we heard from last week. This is part of the vapers’ opportunity: WRITE TO THEM!!! EDUCATE THEM!!! Tell them, in no uncertain terms, that YOU will absolutely vote to leave the EU precisely because of poisonous and harmful EU Directives such as TPD Article 20.
So what would happen if the vote succeeds, and Lord Callanan’s motion is carried? Well, technically, the EU could start “infraction proceedings” against the UK for not fully implementing Article 20. But would they really want to do this – at this crucial time? It would look very bad; Brussels needs to be making friends with the Brits, not encouraging anti-EU sentiment, which (let’s face it) is already running pretty high – particularly amongst vapers!
Can we succeed?
There are many more of us now than there were in 2013, when Vaper Power helped to win the European Parliament vote. Back then, there were a mere 1.3 million vapers in the UK. Now, there are at least 2.8 million of us.
Westminster and Brussels have multiple good reasons to be helpful: politicians are seeing the evidence that some of the EU rules are no longer fit for purpose – and in many cases, speaking out publicly about this. But far more fundamentally, they don’t want vapers deciding their referendum votes on this issue.
CALL TO ACTION:
If ever there was a day for vaper power, this is it. The Twittersphere is already abuzz, but why not add your voice? Send your support for the #LordsVapeVote to @Number10gov @MartinCallanan @jeremycorbyn.
PLEASE don’t just rely on Twitter though: we need to fill their email inboxes again! Write to your MP, MEP, Lords representative, and anyone else you can think of. Contact all the high profile Brexiteers we keep seeing and hearing on the news. Educate them about your experiences, and tell them what it means for you in your life.
Those who are campaigning for us to stay in the EU keep telling us that we have sovereignty, that we have control, as citizens of the UK; perhaps this motion can allow them the opportunity to prove that this is actually the case – and if so, perhaps even we can be persuaded to change our vote from an emphatic OUT on 23rd June. Stranger things have happened….