Letter to Party Leaders

Share this

We have written to  Party Leaders to ask for their Party's Policy on the Infant formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations. It would be great if you can download the letters (pasted below) and use them to contact the Prospective  Parliamentary Candidates in your region.  Let me know how you get on!


Patti Rundall (prundall@babymilkaction.org)

We have written to the following leaders:

Gordon Brown (Labour)

David Cameron (Conservative)

Nick Clegg (LibDem)

Caroline Lucas (Greens)

Alex Salmond (Scottish National Party)

Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru)

Margaret Ritchie (Social Democratic and Labour Party)

David Ford  (Alliance Party of Northern Ireland) 

Peter Robinson (Democratic Unionists Party)

Dawn Purvis (Progressive Unionists Party)

Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein)

Lord Pearson of Rannoch  (United Kingdom Independence Party)

Sir Reg Empey (Ulster Unionists)

Salma Yaqoob (Respect)

Here is the text of the letters:

The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP

Prime Minister, Leader,  

The Labour Party

39  Victoria Street



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Gordon Brown 

What is your party’s policy on the  Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations?

I am writing on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG) and the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition (BMC) to request a statement from you setting out your party’s policy on the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations. 

BFLG and BMC represent the leading health professional organisations, mother-support groups and public service bodies in the UK and were united in calling on the Government to implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions when the Regulations were being drafted in 2006. These international minimum standards are intended to protect breastfeeding, to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if needed and ensure that parents receive objective information free from commercial bias.  The Government’s own Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that the regulations should be stronger, including a ban on the advertising of follow-on formula alongside that on infant formula and a ban on nutrition and health claims. LACORS and Trading Standards explained the difficulty in enforcing regulations that treat infant formula and follow-on formula differently.

Despite claiming to endorse the International Code and WHA Resolutions, the Government has, as yet, failed to implement them fully and instead attempted to introduce stronger measures through Guidance Notes. These are not only inadequate but have also proven to be unenforceable. An Independent Review Panel (IRP) convened by the Government reviewed the operation of the Regulations, taking evidence from the enforcement authorities. It recommended in its report (published 11th March): “The nature of the problems encountered when enforcing the Regulations should be characterised and steps taken to address these.”

BFLG and BMC reiterate their call for the International Code and Resolutions to be introduced in their entirety to address the problems encountered with enforcing the Regulations. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has made the same recommendation, stating in its 2008 report on the UK that it was: “concerned that implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes continues to be inadequate and that aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes remains common. The Committee recommends that the State party implement fully the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.”

Will you undertake that after the election your party will ensure that steps are taken to address the problems with the Regulations and press for full implementation of the Code and Resolutions as called for by the BFLG, BMC and UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, including a ban on follow-on formula advertising as called for by SACN, LACORS and Trading Standards?

Yours sincerely

Patti Rundall, OBE

Policy Director, Baby Milk Action

Gordon Brown.pdf387.61 KB
David Cameron.pdf315.29 KB
Nick Clegg.pdf313.91 KB
Caroline Lucas.pdf316.73 KB


Response from Caroline Lucas


Dear Patti,

Caroline has asked me to get in touch and thank you for your recent letter. She was pleased to see you recently and has this statement setting out the Green Party's policy on the infant formula and follow on formula regulations:

I agree wholeheartedly that the UK must implement the World Health Organisation's recommendations on marketing breastmilk substitutes and would press for this if elected as an MP.

 She is keen to work with BFLG if she does get elected, so please do stay in touch.

Cath Miller

Office of Caroline Lucas, Leader

The Green Party


1A Waterlow Road

London N19 5NJ