Exclusive

Jamie Oliver’s Eton Mess protest on Downing St as he slams Boris for child obesity u-turn

17 May 2022, 10:20 | Updated: 17 May 2022, 10:47

By Asher McShane

Jamie Oliver has called on Boris Johnson to do more to protect children's health after the Government’s U-turn on banning multi-buy junk food deals and pre-watershed TV advertising.

Jamie told James O’Brien today that he thinks the PM “hasn’t got the backbone and spine to complete anything" after the widely criticised U-turn.

He called on people to bring an Eton Mess dessert to Downing Street in protest.

“I want people to come down at 12.30pm on Friday if he doesn’t row back, and hold up an Eton mess. He’s just got to do what his own government have already worked out," Jamie said.

In full: Jamie Oliver's open letter to Boris Johnson on child obesity

Read more: Boris scraps ban on BOGOF supermarket junk food deals amid cost of living crisis

Jamie Oliver spoke to James O'Brien on LBC today
Jamie Oliver spoke to James O'Brien on LBC today. Picture: LBC

James highlighted the issues around BOGOF deals that encourage people to buy more food than they need, eat unhealthily, and waste more food.

Jamie said: “It’s making people spend more, eat more and waste more. Right now it’s the opposite of cost of living. Finally we had something in words that was looking world class.

“Now it’s not world class because he’s already eroded it.

“This inability to accept positive change that has been thoughtfully scientifically worked out, that can make a difference.”

The top celeb chef and healthy food campaigner has also signed an open letter to the PM accusing him of failing to keep his promises on promoting children's health.

The letter states: "Today you have thrown away your right to claim England is world-leading in its policies to promote children’s health.

"You have told us time and again that your government would deliver on its strategy, including ending junk food advertising to children, only to u-turn after the law has already passed.

"At a time when child health has worsened over the pandemic so that now 1 in 4 children leave primary school with obesity, and people who live in lower income areas are twice as likely to be affected, you are delaying policies that are both vital for levelling up and popular with 74% of the public.

"It is not too late to reconsider and protect the next generation from diet-related disease. Please don’t u-turn on child health."

Other signatories to the letter include leading health figures, food campaigners and senior figures from food charities.

It comes after the Bank of England governor issued an "apocalyptic" warning about rising food prices.

In his evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee on Monday, Governor Andrew Bailey stressed that the war in Ukraine has resulted in an unpredictable jump in inflation, highlighting that there is still a "major worry" over further rises in food prices due to the conflict.

"It is a major worry for this country and a major worry for the developing world," Mr Bailey said.

"Sorry for being apocalyptic but that is a major concern."

He said the main driver of inflation is "the very big, real income shock which is coming from outside forces and, particularly, energy prices and global goods prices".

He warned "that will have an impact on domestic demand and it will dampen activity, and I'm afraid it looks like it will increase unemployment".

Jamie's letter to Boris Johnson in full:

"Today you have thrown away your right to claim England is world-leading in its policies to promote children’s health.

"You have told us time and again that your government would deliver on its strategy, including ending junk food advertising to children, only to u-turn after the law has already passed.

"At a time when child health has worsened over the pandemic so that now 1 in 4 children leave primary school with obesity, and people who live in lower income areas are twice as likely to be affected, you are delaying policies that are both vital for levelling up and popular with 74% of the public.

"It is not too late to reconsider and protect the next generation from diet-related disease. Please don’t u-turn on child health."

Jamie Oliver, Chef and Campaigner

Ian Walker, Executive Director of Policy, Information and Communications, Cancer Research UK

James Toop, CEO, Bite Back 2030

Chris Askew, Chief Executive, Diabetes UK

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation

Anna Taylor OBE, Executive Director, The Food Foundation

Jyotsna Vohra, Director for Policy and Public Affairs, Royal Society for Public Health

Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead, Obesity Health Alliance

Kath Dalmeny, Sustain, the Alliance for Better Food and Farming

Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign

Stephanie Slater, School Food Matters

Professor Maggie Rae, President, Faculty of Public Health

Tim Lang, Centre for Food Policy

Professor Graham MacGregor, Action on Salt and Sugar

Matthew Philpott, Executive Director, Health Equalities Group

Rebecca Sunter, Childhood Obesity Programme Director, Impact on Urban Health

Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action

Maria Bryant, UK Association for the Study of Obesity

Paul Aveyard, Professor of Behavioural Medicine, University of Oxford

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland

Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden, Senior Lecturer, The Open University

Professor Mark Petticrew, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Prof. Niamh Fitzgerald, Institute for Social Marketing & Health, University of Stirling

Professor John Wass, Professor of Endocrinology, Oxford University and Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) NHS England

Louise Davies, Founder, Food Teacher’s Centre UK

Rob Percival, Head of Food and Health Policy, Soil Association

Dr David Strain, Chair of the British Medical Association’s Board of Science

Professor Emma Boyland, Chair of Food Marketing and Child Health, University of Liverpool

June O’Sullivan, CEO, London Early Years Foundation

Jude Taylor, CEO Together Active Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent