Minimum alcohol pricing 'may gain support' after election

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol may gain political support after the election, an MP involved in the health select committee report on alcohol has argued.

Labour MP Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West), who is a member of the health select committee, made the comments in reaction to support from the medical profession and charities for a minimum unit price for alcohol. Proposals to introduce such pricing are expected to prove unpopular in constituencies with strong links to the alcohol industry.

‘It is the wrong time, just before an election, to talk about minimum pricing of alcohol,' he said.

But, he added: ‘As soon as this election is over, get out the message about minimum pricing and you might find that the government, whichever colour it is, is more responsive.'

Dr Naysmith made the comments at a debate on tackling harm caused by alcohol on Tuesday. The event was jointly organised by the Royal College of Physicians and the NHS Confederation.

Introducing a minimum price for alcohol was proposed England's CMO in his annual report last year, but the idea was rejected by prime minister Gordon Brown.

The proposal has been supported by the RCN, however. Last month, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the college, has said that minimum pricing for alcohol was 'essential'.

Last month, the House of Commons health select committee issued a report calling for a radical change in alcohol policy.

Editor's blog: Should the government ban 24-hour drinking (again)?

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