COMMONS

Petition debate on sugary drinks tax

25 November 2015

On Monday 30 November the House of Commons debates an e-petition calling for “a tax on sugary drinks in the UK to improve our children’s health.” The debate was scheduled by the Petitions Committee following a petition started on petition.parliament.uk by Jamie Oliver and Sustain.

The debate, led by Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, starts at 4.30pm on Monday 30 November in Westminster Hall. The debate is on the motion: "That this House has considered e-petition 106651 relating to a tax on sugary drinks."

The petition was started by Jamie Oliver and Sustain and has now been signed by over 151,000 people. The Petitions Committee referred the petition to the Health Committee, which took evidence from the petitioners as part of its inquiry into childhood obesity.

The Petitions Committee decided to schedule a debate on the petition to coincide with the publication of a report from the Health Committee. The Health Committee makes recommendations about what the Government’s policy priorities should be for addressing childhood obesity. MPs will be able to discuss the petition and the Health Committee’s report in the debate.

The Health Committee will be tweeting ‘infographic teasers’ in the lead up to its report publication. You can follow the Health Committee on Twitter: @commonshealth

What will the e-petition debate achieve?

Debates on e-petitions in Westminster Hall are general debates about the issues raised by the e-petition. MPs can discuss the petition and, if they wish, ask questions about the Government’s position on the issue or press the Government to take action. A Government Minister takes part in the debate and answers the points raised. These debates help to raise the profile of a campaign and could influence decision-making in Government and Parliament.

E-petition debates in Westminster Hall cannot directly change the law or result in a vote to implement the request of the petition. Creating new laws, or changing existing ones, can only be done through the parliamentary legislative process which involves a number of debates, and detailed consideration of the law in draft, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This process is normally started by the Government, although there are some ways in which individual MPs or members of the House of Lords who are not in the Government (known as "backbenchers") can ask Parliament to consider new laws.

The Government will respond to the recommendations made in the Health Committee’s report. This will normally be within two months of the report’s publication date.

The Petitions Committee

The Petitions Committee was set up in July 2015 to consider all petitions started on petition.parliament.uk as well as the traditional public (paper) petitions presented by MPs.

It has the power to schedule debates on e-petitions in the House of Commons Second Chamber, Westminster Hall. It considers all petitions which receive over 100,000 signatures for debate. In deciding which petitions should be debated, it takes into account how many people have signed the petition, the topicality of the issue raised, and whether the issue has recently been debated in Parliament.

As well as scheduling debates on petitions, the Committee can also conduct inquiries of its own. The Committee works closely with other House of Commons Select Committees to help connect petitioners with work

Watch the debate online

You can watch the e-petition debate live from 4.30pm on Monday 30 November on Parliament TV

After the debate, the video will be available permanently from this page. A transcript of the debate will also be available and appear on this page a couple of days afterwards.

Start your own petition

Media enquiries

For media enquiries please contact the House of Commons Media Office on 020 7219 0969 / [email protected]

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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