Two Yorkshire MPs hit out at the 'nanny state' they say is stripping away individual choice and responsibility

Yorkshire MPs Andrea Jenkyns and Philip Davies. Photo: JPI Media
Yorkshire MPs Andrea Jenkyns and Philip Davies. Photo: JPI Media

Two Yorkshire MPs have outlined how they feel the state has interfered in people’s health to an extent where it has become overbearing.

Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood and Shipley MP Philip Davies appeared on a panel at a Conservative Party conference fringe event yesterday called Just Say No (to the Nanny State) run by the Adam Smith Institute.

Ms Jenkyns hit out at the sugar tax, which when it was introduced last year meant manufacturers were charged a levy on the high-sugar drinks they sell, forcing price rises.

She said: “I was on the Health Select Committee in 2015, when we brought about the sugar tax. I was one of only two MPs who opposed it.

“My view was why introduce a regressive tax? It hits the poorest, what we really should be doing is actually not pandering to these lobby groups and London-central do-gooders. It should be about better education, better labelling, and what about parental choice, parental responsibility? Why do we never put it back on to the parents any more?”

Ms Jenkyns said experts who recommended policies seen as interfering with people’s lives often got it wrong, giving the example of the advice to not have any fats.

She said: “Look at Tom Watson, the Labour Party MP, I want to follow his diet because he’s lost tonnes of weight by having these strong coffees with butter in them, so experts don’t always get it right.”

She said: “I just think far too often politicians want the votes, but as soon as they get elected they like to waggle their fingers at people’s lifestyle choices. We’re Conservatives, we shouldn’t be meddling in people’s lives in this way.”

On the nanny state she joked: “The only nanny I want in my life is the one that looks after my two year old.”

Mr Davies added: “As Conservatives, if we didn’t believe in individual freedom, and individual responsibility, and parental responsibility, then what on earth do we believe in as a Conservative Party anymore?

“And one of the things I’ve been saddened by as much as appalled by over recent years is how many Conservatives - or supposedly Conservatives - accept, and will even argue for the nanny state measures.

“Because if we’re not going to stand up for individual freedom and individual responsibility, who on earth is? And that’s what we should be fighting for and I don’t care if it’s popular or unpopular.”

Mr Davies said: “I don’t think it’s my job in Parliament to go around banning everybody else from doing all the things that I don’t happen to personally like myself.

“I’m shocked by how many people in Parliament think their job is to do nothing else than ban all the things they don’t happen to like themselves whether it’s smoking, whether it’s drinking, whether it’s gambling,whatever it is.

“I don’t want to live in that kind of country but I’m afraid, increasingly, this is a battle we are losing.”

Asked whether Boris Johnson would roll back regulations, Mr Davies said: “I do genuinely think Boris is more of a liberal, small L, than his predecessor that’s for sure, but it’s not a high bar to jump.”