Focus: Policy and Politics - Question Time - Charlie Powell Co-ordinator, Sustain

What is Sustain's involvement in the Children's Food Bill that was re-introduced in Parliament a fortnight ago? There is no difference between our campaign, which aims to promote the Bill, and the Bill itself. It was drafted by us and presented to the MPs who were nominated in the Private Member's Ballot on 26 May.

The Bill was first introduced to Parliament by Debra Shipley last year but had to be dropped because of the General Election. It is led this time by Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield, and supported by 11 MPs, including David Taylor and Helen Goodman.

What does the Bill say? That the sale of unhealthy food and drink products should be prohibited from school vending machines and that mandatory nutrient and quality standards for school meals should be introduced.

What is the Government's position on this? It believes food and drink companies should self-regulate to stop marketing campaigns promoting junk food to young people. But in such a competitive market, voluntary approaches fail to protect children. This is why, to coincide with the re-introduction of the Bill, we have distributed a new report, The Children's Food Bill - Why We Need a New Law, to every MP.

What is the campaign's next step? The Bill should enter its second reading on 28 October, depending on whether there will be sufficient time left after the reading of the Rights of Savers Bill led by Conservative MP Malcolm Rifkind. At the moment we are trying to get as many MPs as possible to sign an Early Day Motion, tabled by Mary Creagh two weeks ago in support of the Bill. Forty-six MPs have signed it so far and we are expecting hundreds more in the coming months. The aim is to show that the Bill has cross-party support.

We are also producing tens of thousands of leaflets that will be sent to MPs through the members of the 137 organisations that are part of our coalition.

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