Opponents of plain packaging of tobacco today launched a campaign video designed to highlight the influence of unelected civil servants in Whitehall.

Coinciding with the government White Paper on Civil Service reform, the video was produced by the Hands Off Our Packs campaign team. ‘Plain Packaging, No Minister!’ features a conversation between a fictional health minister and his chief civil servant about the desirability of plain packaging.

It includes a spoof “partly political broadcast” featuring the minister, the Rt Hon Peter Perfect MP. The video ends with a message inviting people to visit the Hands Off Our Packs website and sign a petition against plain packaging.

Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said: “Plain packaging is the latest attempt to denormalise a legal product and stigmatise millions of adult consumers.

“Pro plain pack lobbyists have spent large sums of public money trying to influence politicians to support the measure.

“The video reflects the widely held view that politicians, including ministers, are increasingly puppets of taxpayer funded bodies and unelected bureaucrats in Whitehall.

“We urge ministers to think for themselves and listen to all stakeholders, not just the tobacco control industry and civil servants in the Department of Health.”

To view the video visit www.handsoffourpacks.com

The closing date for submissions to the public consultation on plain packaging is July 10th.