MP Tables Food Ad Ban Bill to Protect Britain’s Toddlers

15 April 2003

New legislation tabled in Britain’s parliament seeks to ban advertising of food and drink to under-fives.

Debra Shipley, a member of parliament for the governing Labour Party, has drawn up the bill to tackle what she believes is a link between the marketing of unhealthy snacks and rising childhood obesity.

“I strongly believe toddlers should have TV time that is their own and that is free from harmful advertising of high fat, high sugar and high salt content food and drink,” Shipley declared.

“There is an overwhelming strength of feeling on this issue from parents and my parliamentary colleagues that there should be legislation preventing food and drink ads aimed at toddlers.”

Shipley, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, last year tabled an early day motion calling for a ban on all TV advertising during programmes aimed at under-fives. A device used to demonstrate support for a cause, the motion was backed by 130 MPs.

Her new bill, the first reading of which is on May 6, is meant to pressure the government rather than introduce a ban. It is a ten-minute rule bill – so called after the length of time a proponent can speak in favour of the legislation – and without government support stands no chance of becoming law.

Ministers have so far made no commitment to such a ban, but culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell has vowed to include Shipley’s suggestions in a review of advertising codes by new communications regulator Ofcom.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff