Clause 2

Part of Sunbeds (Regulation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 10th February 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bruce George Bruce George Labour, Walsall South 5:00 pm, 10th February 2010

The issues remain. We all have some concerns, which I trust will be addressed as the Bill passes through the Commons and the Lords and back to the Commons. Nevertheless, the Bill is well drafted. I will not insult its parents by being critical, or by suggesting that they simply took a document, because they are too judicious and competent to have done that. I cannot recall all the characters, but I remember the story of a President of the United States making a speech and somebody in the audience shouting, “Author, author”, when he sat down. I hope that those who had a hand in drafting the Bill are identified not for any reasons of admonition, but because the legislation is well drafted.

I shall not cause controversy by identifying anybody, but on Second Reading a number of criticisms were made. Although I thought that most of them were nonsense on stilts, they need to be addressed. One was: why should we busy-bodies interfere in the rights of parents? When it comes to people under the age of 18, it should be the parents who instil sufficient knowledge and awareness in their offspring to encourage them to desist from attending such institutions and running the risk of cancer. I agree with the general point that it should be parents who instil those values, but we all know that not all parents are as aware or as concerned as the ideal parent, parents or relatives. Many young people do not have that set of wise advice.

I received a letter from a distinguished dermatology professional who has been very much involved in the campaign outside Parliament. He told me that he could not control his kids. One of them worked in a salon and he did not know. She was clearly under age and she used the devices. Even a good parent—I do not speak as a parent—would not in this day and age have such control over their offspring as to ensure that they kept out of harm’s way by not going on a sunbed under age. There are some things the state has no right to do, but over the centuries, especially in the last century, Parliament has been prepared to interfere in some areas of private existence. If not a classic case, this is a substantial case in support of the state, if it has the evidence, doing that. Despite what we heard two weeks ago, there is overwhelming evidence of a clear link between sun-tanning, sun and the incidence of cancer. Not everything has been discovered, but there is more than enough evidence to convince any reasonable person, and even some unreasonable people, of the case for 18 as a limit. The case for the link between the two, as I mentioned earlier, is sufficiently overwhelming as to underpin any effort by hon. Members, the Executive and Parliament as a whole to step in and say that there must be a limit of 18.