The Labour Party has given the clearest indication yet that it will back
off from a total ban on sports sponsorship by tobacco companies if it
wins power at the next general election (Campaign, last week).
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall, who is a close associate of Tony
Blair and tipped to be a sports minister under Labour, pledged last week
that the party would not seek further curbs on tobacco sponsorship of
sport or replace the voluntary code.
Hoey was speaking at a conference organised by the Incorporated Society
of British Advertisers. She said Labour’s heritage team saw sponsorship
as ‘crucially important and very much to be encouraged’.
The speech represents the first official pro-sponsorship statement by
But although the heritage team are convinced there is a case for
sponsorship, it is understood that the shadow health team is still
finalising its policy on tobacco. One factor in the heritage team’s
favour is the explosion in cross-border satellite TV, which has
convinced many in the party that further restrictions would be
Hoey said: ‘My own feelings are that the present sponsorship by the
tobacco industry should continue, and it will be the European Union that
will be making the strategic moves.’
John Hooper, the ISBA director general, said: ‘It is refreshing to hear
such positive and enthusiastic support for this vital part of so many
companies’ marketing communications strategies.’