A government adviser on food issues has quit the role after five years, saying the failure of the Conservatives to address the obesity will cause “huge harm”.
Henry Dimbleby, formerly the lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announced his decision to quit over the weekend as he criticised the “insane” failure to act.
“I think the ideology of the Conservative Party and the way they are dealing with the problem of diet-related disease makes no sense,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Dimbleby, a co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, has been speaking as he promotes a new book on diet and food systems.
His decision to quit, first reported in the Sunday Times, comes amid his frustration at government inaction on the issue.
Mr Dimbleby said such a failure is creating “huge problems” for the future.
Successive governments have failed to introduce a long-promised ban on pre-watershed TV advertising for junk food.
Rishi Sunak’s administration said in December the anti-obesity measure will not come into force until 2025.
We talked to people all around the country. They're fed up of their children being marketed junk food, they want intervention, but somehow it's got inside the heads of a certain brand of Conservative politician that this kind of thing is bad, it's wrong, it's ideologically not correct— Henry Dimbleby
Mr Dimbleby said such a response is “misconceived in terms of its electoral popularity”.
He added: “The free market is fantastic in many ways. The role the government is to intervene to clear up mess but this modern Conservative ideology just thinks it can leave everything in the system without any intervention at all.
“We talked to people all around the country. They’re fed up of their children being marketed junk food, they want intervention.”
The ex-food tsar added: “but somehow it’s got inside the heads of a certain brand of Conservative politician that this kind of thing is bad, it’s wrong, it’s ideologically not correct.
“And that is going to cause huge harm to the country if it isn’t reversed.”