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MP to introduce Private Member’s bill on sunbeds

by Henry Scowcroft | Analysis

17 December 2009

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In Parliament yesterday Julie Morgan, the Labour MP for Cardiff North, introduced a Private Member’s Bill aimed at preventing under-18s using sunbeds.

This is great news and means steps are being taken to answer our call to ensure children and teenagers are protected from the dangers of sunbeds.

What is a Private Member’s Bill?

Every year twenty MPs names are drawn out of a ballot. This gives them the opportunity to put forward a Bill of their choice in the hope of making new laws. This time round, Julie was drawn high up in the ballot and, with our help, is taking forward a sunbeds bill.

This follows on from Sian James’, MP for Cardiff East, hard work in raising the profile of sunbeds in parliament.

What does the Bill include?

The Bill would make it a criminal offence for a sunbed operator to allow anyone under the age of 18 to use a sunbed.

What happens now in Parliament?

Private Member’s Bills can only be debated in Parliament on certain days, meaning that there isn’t usually enough time for them to become law.  This session of Parliament is especially short because of the General Election, which needs to happen before June 2010 (pdf).  Nevertheless, this is an important opportunity to make the case about why action is needed to protect young people from the dangers of sunbeds.

We will continue to work closely with Julie Morgan MP to make sure that there’s as much support in Parliament for the Sunbeds Bill as possible.  Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary has expressed enthusiasm for taking action on sunbeds – but parliamentary time is short.  In Scotland, legislation regulating sunbeds became law on 1st December 2009.

We very much hope that other MPs in Parliament will support the Bill when it’s first debated early in the New Year.