“The lobbying firm co-run by the man heading Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign has been writing to councils on behalf of a tobacco company before the announcement of planned new anti-smoking measures due in the coming weeks.
The Guardian has seen emails showing Crosby Textor Fullbrook Partners (CTFP) contacted councillors on behalf of Philip Morris, seeking to get the tobacco multinational involved in voluntary moves to curb cigarette smoking, as opposed to more onerous statutory efforts.
One of CTFP’s partners, Mark Fullbrook, has taken temporary leave from the firm to act as Johnson’s campaign manager. The lobbying efforts took place in April, while Fullbrook was still with the company.
While there is no suggestion that Fullbrook was personally involved in these actions, or that he is advising Johnson to adopt a similar line, it comes just over a week after Johnson called for a reconsideration of “sin taxes” on highly sugared drinks.
It later emerged that another arm of Crosby’s lobbying group represents a dairy firm in Australia which sells high-sugar milk drinks of the sort that could be targeted by an extension to a UK sugar tax.
CTFP states that Fullbrook’s role at the company has no bearing on his work with Johnson, and that he currently has no contact with clients.
But amid continued delays to a landmark government consultation on public health, expected to include tough new anti-smoking measures, campaign groups and Labour have urged the Johnson camp to commit to not watering down anti-smoking plans if he becomes prime minister.
They have also called on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, now a leading supporter of Johnson, to push ahead with the plans, which are expected to include a “polluter pays” levy in which tobacco firms would be forced to finance anti-smoking measures, and compulsory cards inside cigarette packets detailing the health perils.
The so-called prevention green paper, originally due in the first half of 2019, was scheduled to be released this week, but the Department for Health and Social Care says it does not have a confirmed publication date. …”