Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:28 am on 16th October 2020.

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Photo of Luke Evans Luke Evans Conservative, Bosworth 10:28 am, 16th October 2020

This Friday is a day of joy for me for so many reasons. First, I had my point of order corrected—that is a learning point. Secondly, I am following my hon. Friend Claire Coutinho, who spoke eloquently. Thirdly, this is the first time since being elected that I am able to speak in this House with no time limit, and I am thoroughly looking forward to it. Fourthly, and through gritted teeth, I have to give credit to my hon. Friend Laura Trott, because I would have brought forward this private Member’s Bill should I have been lucky enough to have been selected in the ballot.

Since entering the House, I have seen, through my work on the Health and Social Care Committee and through many conversations with my hon. Friend, that she is dedicated, thoughtful and absolutely tenacious in getting this Bill through, and rightly so. The Bill is really important and has my full support.

We need to be careful in this debate not to demonise botox and fillers, because they are not the problem. We must remember that they have a use in medicine. As has already been hinted at, botox can be used for migraines, for excessive sweating and to relieve pain by numbing the nerve and stopping the nerve from working. That is why it stops wrinkles, because if it is used in a nerve, that part of the face cannot be innervated, so not so many wrinkles are created.

Fillers have a place as well. My hon. Friend the Member for East Surrey hinted at scarring, but they can also be used for acne. Hyaluronic acid, in the right place at the right time, is really important. We should also make distinctions when we talk about these products. Botox is time-limited and wears off, but with fillers it is a mixture depending on what is used and how it is used. Part of the problem is that often people do not know what kind of filler is going into their face.

My hon. Friend James Cartlidge talked about aspiration and I agree with him. There is a place for these products where people want to improve their body. Countless studies show that plastic surgery or interventions on an aesthetic basis can indeed give long-lasting happiness. Take the example of someone who has their nose corrected or a bump taken out: that can have a devastating effect if it is not dealt with and a really positive one if it is. We must therefore be very careful in this debate to ensure that people can get support when they want it and it is appropriate. A big part of the problem is that we get into this vicious cycle of people thinking incorrectly that having a correction will somehow deal with a flaw that is actually deeper in themselves, be it misplaced anxiety or depression.