• June 12, 2024

Liz Truss’ Chief of Staff Recuses Himself from Smoking Policy Talks

 Liz Truss’ Chief of Staff Recuses Himself from Smoking Policy Talks
Photo: Vitalii Vodolazskyi

The chief of staff to U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss has recused himself from discussions about changes to the government’s smoking strategy due to his past work as a tobacco industry lobbyist.

Mark Fullbrook, the prime minister’s most senior adviser, has worked on behalf of Philip Morris and BAT.

Fullbrook told Sky News he will have “no involvement whatsoever” in government smoking policy.

“Number 10 has questions to answer about the involvement of Mark Fullbrook and any other former lobbyists for Big Tobacco in the decision to drop plans to tackle smoking,” said Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting.

“The health secretary must also be clear about her own tobacco industry connections.”

According to The Guardian, Health Secretary Therese Coffey also intends to break her predecessor’s promise to publish an action plan to tackle smoking.

The paper writes that Coffey has previously accepted hospitality from the tobacco industry. Since becoming a Member of Parliament in 2010, she has voted in the House of Commons against an array of measures to restrict smoking, including the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, the outlawing of smoking in cars containing children and forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain packs.

On Oct. 18, Coffey was unable to confirm if she was scrapping the plan. The Department of Health insists “no decisions have been taken.”