§ 9. Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West)
What recent representations he has received from sporting bodies which will be affected by the proposed ban on tobacco advertising. 
§ The Minister for Sport (Mr. Tony Banks)
The full task force has met three times and since January, I and the other members of the task force have had 10 meetings with representatives from the sports that are seeking our help. That close contact has identified the significant problems facing the sports in replacing tobacco money. They are all vying for sponsorship money in a crowded marketplace. We shall assist them in repositioning themselves in the marketplace and support them in building new commercial relationships that can be sustained.
I have also recently had a very positive meeting with Richard Branson about help that he may be able to offer sports. My officials are now following up that meeting.
§ Mr. Swayne
But what estimate have the Government made of the impact on the nation's health of the policy of providing a dispensation to snooker and formula one? If they estimate that the damage will not be very great, and certainly insufficient to question the very policy of providing that dispensation in the first place, why cannot the dispensation simply be extended to the 65 sports that are now facing financial difficulty and, in some cases, oblivion?
§ Mr. Banks
It is a bit rich for a member of the Opposition to start talking about the damage caused to sports or to people's health by the use of tobacco. The 11 previous Government never did anything about that issue. The right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) refused to ban tobacco advertising or sponsorship. We have done so, and we shall be commended for that. The hon. Gentleman knows that all sports will be required to end tobacco sponsorship by 2003. The only exemption will be for those sports that compete in three countries on two continents and have a substantial proportion of sponsorship—over £2.5 million—from tobacco.
§ Mr. Banks
I had a parrot—an African parrot called Chunky. He was considerably more articulate and beautiful than the hon. Gentleman. An apology to parrots is probably in order.
I say to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) that snooker will have to prove its case if it is to be exempted until 2006. If he is worried about the impact of tobacco use on the nation's health, why on earth did he accept hospitality at Henley from the Imperial Tobacco Group? Clearly, he was not worried about his health.