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Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Volume 690: debated on Friday 12 March 2021

Consideration of Bill, not amended in the Public Bill Committee

Clause 5

Power to make consequential provision

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 2, in clause 6, page 3, line 38, leave out from “force” to end of subsection and insert “on 1 October 2021”.

This amendment will incorporate into the Bill the guidance for policy makers issued in August 2010 that there should be two common commencement dates each year, one of which is 1st October, for the introduction of changes to regulations affecting businesses.

Amendment 1 stands in my name and the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) and for Shipley (Philip Davies).

The purpose of amendments 1 and 2 is to try to address the quality of the legislation that we produce in this House. Using clauses as a means of giving the power to change a whole mass of other legislation has long been a bugbear of mine and is exactly what clause 5 does, which is why the Bill would be better without it. I know that, inevitably, the response from the Government on these issues is always, “Oh, well, this is belt and braces and it will save time in the future because we won’t have to bring forward fresh legislation or statutory instruments in order to cover scenarios that we have not yet thought about.” It seems to me that the case has not been made, which is why I have moved amendment 1.

Amendment 2 is a similar provision to the one on which I was briefly trying to engage the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Gillian Keegan), when we were discussing the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Bill. The Minister would not engage with me because she felt that that Bill was a deregulatory Bill—she was probably right—and that, therefore, this provision did not really apply. None the less, the purpose of this is to try to ensure that there should be two common commencement dates each year for regulations that impact on businesses, and that one of those should be 1 October, because that seems to be closest to the time when this Bill will be implemented, so that is the date that I have chosen. Perhaps the Minister will be able to give me an assurance that it is indeed the Government’s policy to deregulate and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and individuals, and to reassert that the Government accept the virtue of having two days each year that might be described as regulatory days, because that will not only facilitate the effectiveness of our legislative process, but make it much easier for those who are impacted on by our legislation to respond and prepare for it. That is why I moved amendment 1 and have spoken to amendment 2.

I am very grateful to have reached this point today. This is an important Bill that will protect young people. We are short on time, so I will cover the substance of the amendments quickly. On amendment 1, consequential provisions are essential to ensure consistency with other legislation. On amendment 2, six months will enable the necessary changes to be made to the human medicines regulations under the consequential provisions that were just discussed.

I have been reassured by the answers given to the promoter of the Bill, the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott), so I do not intend to support either amendment or delay proceedings any further.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott) on the outstanding work that she has done in introducing the Bill, and I reiterate the Government’s support for the legislation. I believe that everyone has the right to make informed decisions about their bodies, but our role in Government is to support young people in making safe, informed choices where necessary to protect them from the potential harm that cosmetic procedures can do to their health. The increasing popularity of cosmetic procedures and the pressures on our young people to achieve this aesthetic ideal are well documented, and I believe that the Bill is an important step in putting those necessary safeguards in place.

I acknowledge the intentions behind the amendment tabled in the Public Bill Committee by the hon. Members for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris) and for Bradford South (Judith Cummins) to introduce a medical necessity test on the face of the Bill, and I hope that they have taken assurances from the explanation by my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks of the work that she has done to explore this. The standards set by the General Medical Council already require doctors to consider the best interests of the patient to cover the ethical treatment of under-18s.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with my hon. Friend to take this step towards greater regulation of the cosmetic procedure industry. I look forward to the Bill’s successful passage through the Lords.

Because time is running short, I thank those who have contributed to this short debate, and so that we can move on to Third Reading, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Third Reading

As discussed, time is short, so I will keep my remarks to a minimum. I thank everyone who has been involved in this Bill. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Alberto Costa), the hon. Members for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris) and for Bradford South (Judith Cummins), and the right hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones), all of whom have raised the profile of this very important issue over a number of years. I also pay tribute to the work of Save Face, a campaigning organisation that has done brilliant work to safeguard many, many young people over many years. Lastly, I also thank the Minister, whose support throughout this has been absolute, and I am very grateful.

I have nothing further to say due to the shortage of time. I just reiterate that it has been an absolute pleasure to work with my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott) to take these steps forward to the conclusion of the Bill, and I commend it to the House.

I add my congratulations to the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott). I know that this has been no mean feat, especially during the current challenging times, and there has had to be a lot of patience, but it has been rewarded today. It is important that we act to protect our young people, especially with the pressures that they face. This is one of those great bits of legislation where I think if we stopped our constituents in the street and asked them about it, they would think it was already like this. This is a common-sense, practical and proportionate way to protect our young people, and we give it our full support.

I, too, support this Bill. I notice that it was first canvassed as a possibility in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, which contained a commitment to ensure the

“effective registration and regulation of those performing cosmetic interventions.”

I had not realised the extent to which children had been able to access botulinum toxin and cosmetic filler procedures without a medical or psychological assessment; nor had I realised that practitioners did not need to be medically qualified to perform the procedures and that there are no mandatory competency or qualification frameworks related to their administration. Obviously, this Bill will help to avoid the potential health risks of such procedures, which include blindness, tissue necrosis, infection, scarring and psychological impacts.

It seems to me that my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott), so early on in her obviously very promising political career, has been able to identify an issue on which there is a lot of enthusiastic support. I congratulate and thank her for bringing the Bill forward, and I hope that it makes successful progress in the other place after its passage here.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) for his remarks, and to the Opposition and the Government for their support.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.