Many of you will have seen this hashtag trending, especially if you follow some of the vaping advocates. Everyone is very excited about a possible Lords vote that has the potential to change the trajectory of the TPD.
I am not going to say it will kill off the TPD, as the UK Government doesn’t have the right to not implement EU laws (unless it has been able to secure an official opt out), and, as we all know the TPD is an EU Directive.
It is an EU Directive that has also been green lighted by the European Courts of Justice as being fit for purpose. It is also a Directive that the UK Government has supported from the off.
So, what’s going on and why all the excitement?
Below is a copy of the information that is being circulated: text in this font are our notes
In the House of Lords, Lord Callanan has put down a motion which if passed would stop implementation of the TPD in the UK.
This is a critical development. See it in full here
Scroll down to motions relating to delegated legislation. (Please note this could temporarily stop implementation, or stop it entirely, or have no effect – this is at present a grey area)
Why this is seen to be different
Lord Callanan: 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. (There has been no Parliamentary debate on the TPD prior to this, so this is a huge step.)
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) (We don’t know the true figures here, as this is a group of Lords in one room)
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” (sue us) 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.
We at TW are not getting overly excited, but nor are we being pessimistic. What we are trying to do is temper the excitement with some realism.
If we make enough noise we might be able to gain some leverage here, the thing is though, no one truly knows at this point what this could or would mean, but, this is an opportunity that we should grab with both hands as we have nothing to lose.
The first thing that needs to happen is for the Lords to pass this, but they need to know what they are passing, as Lord Callanan is asking in his motion for the entire TPD to be thrown out, this is a huge ask.
The TPD got passed in the first place because of what was in it regarding tobacco. That they sneakily put e-cigs in there is another story, but the TPD passed because of the tobacco element so Lord Callanan needs to state quite clearly what he is asking the Lords to do and for them to realise this is essentially about Vaping.
So what can we/ you do to help push this along?
Please write to your local MP asking them to do what they can to support this motion. Also please write to as many Peers as you can. Tell them your personal story. Explain how the TPD will impact you personally. Ask them to support Lord Callanan’s motion, but make it clear that Lord Callanan is only concerned with the vaping elements of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. You can find contact details for all Peers here.
Tweet MPs, MEPs and Lords using the following hashtags and twitter accounts: #LordsVapeVote to @Number10gov @jeremycorbyn
You can find out Peers twitter accounts here
It is important to note that this motion has nothing to do with the EU referendum so please do not muddle the two up when contacting politicians.
There is also a petition that is gaining steam.
Then share this information on your timelines etc, we need to show that Article 20 is bad for vaping all round and we need those in the House of Lords to hear us, so we have to contact them.
We might have a chance here, let’s all make sure we make the most of it, but have the Champagne on the shelf, put it in the chill bucket if (when?) this Lords motion is passed.