SNP welcome Minimum Pricing Bill passing stage one

The SNP has welcomed the passing of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill at stage one in the Scottish Parliament.

It was passed despite 32 Labour MSPs abstaining, while senior Labour MSP and former Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm voted in favour of the Bill.

SNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris, vice convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, said:

“This is the next step in tackling Scotland’s harmful relationship with alcohol, and I’m delighted that the majority of parties backed the bill at stage one.

“Addressing the link between price of high-strength alcohol and consumption is vital, and we will be able to do this through minimum pricing.

“Labour’s fig-leaf proposals do virtually nothing to address pricing, and their incoherent position was laid bare today. They are completely isolated, with their heads buried in the sand.

“As a former Health Minister, Malcolm Chisholm recognises the importance of minimum pricing and voted for it – which just reveals the extent to which Labour as a whole are still putting party politics ahead of public health in refusing to back minimum pricing.

“There is overwhelming evidence and support for minimum pricing – Labour have to explain why they think they know better than the BMA, the RCN, all four UK Chief Medical Officers, the Police, the ambulance service, children’s charities, the churches, and countless other experts.

“There is still time for Labour to support this measure at later Stages and avoid being remembered as the only party not to support this ground-breaking measure.

“We have said that it is not a magic bullet that will solve all of our alcohol problems, but it is a vital part of addressing the issue of Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.”