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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Labour MEPs have welcomed today's High Court ruling against tobacco companies on the eve of new plain packaging regulations coming into force.

The court struck down the challenge from four of the world's biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International, with the judge, Mr Justice Green, ruling the regulations are "valid and lawful in all respects".

Also tomorrow, the EU tobacco products directive (TPD) comes into force across the European Union, under which graphic health warnings must cover two-thirds of cigarette packs, with an immediate ban on flavourings in cigarettes, as well as a ban on lipstick, and perfume packs, with a menthol ban phased in from 2020.

E-cigarettes will be regulated, having to meet certain quality and safety standards, including a strength limit - and if companies claim e-cigarettes help smokers quit, they will have to seek a medicines licence.

Linda McAvan MEP, the European Parliament lead negotiator on the TPD, said:

"Today's court case shows the desperation of the big tobacco companies - it's great news their challenge has been thrown out, as happened when the European Court of Justice ruled against them earlier this month.

"The big tobacco companies did everything to block these laws, employing hundreds of lobbyists along the way, but they lost their cases in what is a major victory for health campaigners.

"Let's hope the law will lead to fewer young smokers being recruited by tobacco companies."

Ms McAvan added:

"The plain packaging regulations and the tobacco products directive - which I steered through the EU law making process in the last Parliament - become law in the UK and across the EU tomorrow. This will mean an end to gimmick tobacco products such as "lipstick" packs, chocolate cigarettes and other marketing ploys designed to lure teenagers into smoking.

"Four thousand British children start smoking each week - that's a staggering 200,000 new childhood smokers a year. More than 700,000 people a year die in the European Union as a result of smoking and 70 per cent of those started smoking before the age of 18. Nearly half of all smokers will die from a smoking related disease and tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable premature deaths across Europe.

"These new laws are an important step towards preventing children taking up smoking."

Labour MEPs welcome High Court defeat for tobacco companies on eve of plain packaging becoming law

Thursday, May 19, 2016 Labour MEPs have welcomed today's High Court ruling against tobacco companies on the eve of new plain packaging regulations coming into force.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The European Parliament is expected to vote today for Labour calls for all meat and dairy products to be labelled with their country of origin.

Under EU rules, it is already mandatory to label most fresh meat with the country of origin. In the resolution being voted on today, Labour MEPs will call for this to be extended to processed meat, milk and dairy products.

The proposals have broad support in the UK, including from consumer group Which?; the Women's Institute; and the National Farmers' Union.

Dame Glenis Willmott DBE MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on food safety, said:

"We believe consumers have a right to know where their food comes from and are calling for clear, honest labelling to enable consumers to make informed choices without being misled.

"This is something Labour MEPs have been campaigning on for a long time. We know it's important to consumers - 90 per cent say they think processed meat should be labelled with the country of origin and 84% would like this labelling for milk.

"It is about clear, honest labelling that doesn't mislead consumers. So if a lasagne is labelled as a British product, that should mean the meat in it came from the UK.  At the moment, food producers can include this information voluntarily but the variety of different schemes can be confusing - our proposals would simplify things.

"This is also about enabling consumers to make informed decisions about where their food has come from, whether that's for environmental reasons or out of concern for animal welfare. People increasingly want to buy local and support our national farmers, and country of origin labelling would help them to do this."

MEPs set to back Labour calls for country of original labelling for all meat and dairy products

Thursday, May 12, 2016 The European Parliament is expected to vote today for Labour calls for all meat and dairy products to be labelled with their country of origin.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Labour MEPs voted today for a report calling for national governments to adopt more family friendly policies and to fully implement the parental leave directive.

The report - which Conservative MEPs voted against - seeks to modernise parental leave provisions throughout the European Union, and calls on EU countries to introduce high-quality, accessible childcare facilities.

Siôn Simon MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson for employment and social affairs, said:

"These measures will introduce an element of gender equality and fairness by introducing much needed facilities to allow for the better sharing of family tasks between men and women.

"This directive seeks to give women a much improved capacity to participate in the job market on more equal terms. The outdated view that bringing up children should be the sole responsibility of mothers is holding back progress for gender equality. The old rules were taking women out of the labour market and not letting men have the chance to be fathers.

"The full implementation of the parental leave directive will give millions of fathers across Europe the ability to spend quality time with their new children after birth."

Labour MEPs vote for report calling for more family friendly policies

Thursday, May 12, 2016 Labour MEPs voted today for a report calling for national governments to adopt more family friendly policies and to fully implement the parental leave directive.

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