Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:40 am on 16th October 2020.

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Photo of Shaun Bailey Shaun Bailey Conservative, West Bromwich West 11:40 am, 16th October 2020

I have been taught that it is sometimes better to keep it short and sweet, keep them wanting more, so I will try to limit my comments to just a few. I start by thanking my hon. Friend Laura Trott, because her Bill demonstrates the reason why we are all here: to ensure that we protect some of the most vulnerable in our society and those who need our help.

I am conscious that at this point in the debate it is easy to be repetitious. I try to avoid being repetitious where possible, but I do want to pick up on some points raised. This is, at its core, about how we view ourselves. That point was well articulated by Ms Brown when she said that it is about the individual inside and what we offer the world as people. Our physical presence should not be the core of what people see; it should be about who we are as people. That should be it, but unfortunately it is not.

When we look at the statistics, we see that women are disproportionately affected. I was fortunate to be brought up in a household of very strong women. My mum, who brought me up on her own, and her two sisters are strong, opinionated but fantastic women who absolutely gave me my life view. They taught me clearly that, at the end of the day, someone’s gender or what they look like should not matter. If they work hard, they should be able to achieve. I saw through their experiences that women are disproportionately affected, and it is absolutely wrong. That is not to discount, of course, that many man are affected. The figures I have seen show that about 40% of men are affected by botched botox and some of the image issues that come out of this. We absolutely must make sure that we get it right, and the Bill fills such an obvious gap. I think it was my hon. Friend Dr Evans who asked—I may be wrong—why on earth this legislation is not already in place. It is beyond my comprehension.

This is not a controversial Bill. It is a common-sense Bill that fills a gap that should have been filled years ago. At its core, as many right hon. and hon. Members have articulated, it is about ensuring that we keep people safe and regulating a £2.75 billion industry. It is about ensuring that young people are protected and not pressured by what they see on TV. We have heard that in many fantastic and well articulated contributions.

I am acutely conscious that other Members want to speak, so I will round up my comments simply by saying that there are many more issues that are slightly outside the purview of the Bill that must be dealt with. My hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks absolutely must be commended, because the Bill is fantastic and is absolutely filling a gap that is there today, but today should only be the start. We must tackle those issues around how we view ourselves and the messages that we are sending young people about their place in society and what should be valued as important. It is incumbent on every single right hon. and hon. Member in this place to ensure that we carry forward the fight and say to people, “It is about who you are as a person, not what you look like.”