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PMQs: Theresa May urged to ban sale of 'high energy' drinks to under-16s

Theresa May has been urged to impose a national ban on the sale of "high energy" drinks to under-16s.

Tory MP Maria Caulfield asked the Prime Minister to look at restricting who can buy such drinks as she said the family of a 25-year-old constituent who committed suicide believed his consumption of them had contributed to his death.

Mrs May said that health ministers were already looking at the effects energy drinks can have and that “they will continue to look at the scientific evidence in relation to these drinks”.

Ms Caulfield, the MP for Lewes, called for the ban at the first Prime Minister’s Questions session of 2018.

She told Mrs May: “My constituent Justin Bartholomew was just 25 when he committed suicide late last year.

“His family are convinced that his intake of high energy drinks - over 15 cans a day - increased his anxiety and contributed to his death.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, addresses the House of Commons during PMQs Credit: PA

“Given the increased safety concern around the high energy drink market and the actions of people like Jamie Oliver and Waitrose, would the Prime Minister consider introducing a national ban on the sale of these energy drinks for under-16s?”

Waitrose recently announced that it will ban the sale of energy drinks which are high in caffeine to people under the age of 16.

Meanwhile, Mr Oliver, the celebrity chef, has called for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children because of concerns they may impact on educational attainment.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, addresses MPs during PMQs Credit: AFP

Mrs May replied: “You have raised a tragic case and I know that the thoughts and sympathies of the whole House will be with the family and friends of Justin Bartholomew.

“Of course we have introduced the soft drinks industry levy.

“We do recognise that there are issues around drinks that are high in sugar and we know that energy drinks high in sugar can be damaging to children’s health.

“We are supporting schools and parents to make healthier choices and to be able to identify those through clearer labelling, through campaigns.

“But of course this is an issue that the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to look at and they will continue to look at the scientific evidence in relation to these drinks.”

The Government announced the introduction of a new levy on sugary soft drinks at the Budget in 2016 in a bid to tackle childhood obesity. 

Theresa May urged to ban sale of energy drinks to under-16s

Theresa May attacks Labour plans for private rented sector

Theresa May addresses MPs during PMQs Credit: PA

Labour MP Grahame Morris asks the Prime Minister to "acknowledge the massive problems we have with absentee landlords". 

Mrs May says the Government is committed to tackling issues in the private rented sector but insists that Labour's plans - which include pledges to introduce rent controls and  landlord licensing - are not the answer. 

"We do need to ensure that we have a good private rented sector in this country," she says. 

She adds that "the one set of policies that would damage the sector are the policies put forward by the Leader of the Opposition". 

SNP frontbencher holds up 'nul points' sign as he asks PM to rate Brexit success

SNP frontbencher Pete Wishart asks Mrs May to rate the success of the Government's approach to Brexit on a scale of one ("chaotic") to 10 ("perfect"). 

Mrs May will not be drawn on a number but she insists that "anyone who saw the success we had in phase one... would say that this is a government that is getting on with the job and doing well". 

Meanwhile, Mr Wishart is given a stern rebuke by Commons Speaker John Bercow after the Scottish MP held up a sign saying 'nul points'. 

Jeremy Corbyn attacks 'creeping privatisation' of NHS

More from Mr Corbyn on the NHS winter crisis - a full set of six questions on the health service from the Labour leader.

"The PM needs to understand that it is her policies that are pushing our NHS into crisis," he says. 

He accuses the Government of handing tax cuts to the "super rich" which are "paid for by longer waiting lists... and cuts to social care". 

Theresa May Credit: PA

He attacks "creeping privatisation" which is "dragging our NHS down". 

But Mrs May responds by saying that the Government has delivered more doctors, more operations and more people being treated in accident and emergency departments. 

"We can only do that with a strong economy," she says. 

Mrs May finishes her exchange with Mr Corbyn by attacking Labour's "high risk" economic plans, referencing recent comments made by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

Mrs May questions Ms Rayner's absence from the House - but is forced to apologise as she is made aware that the Labour frontbencher is away undergoing medical treatment. 

Theresa May attacks Jeremy Corbyn for painting picture of 'failing' NHS

Theresa May, the Prime Minister Credit: AFP

Mr Corbyn is sticking with the NHS as his theme for today's PMQs. He uses his third and fourth questions to raise concerns about NHS resources. 

"Does the Prime Minister really believe that the NHS is better prepared this winter?" he asks. 

Mrs May says that "week in and week out" Mr Corbyn is giving an impression of a health service that is "failing everybody". 

But she describes the NHS as "first class" and points out that it has been identified as the best healthcare service in the world. 

"We are all very proud of the principle of the health service," Mr Corbyn replies, as he then points out some of the problems currently facing it. 

He then questions why Jeremy Hunt was "rewarded" at the reshuffle with a new title (he is now also in charge of social care). 

Mrs May says there have been wide ranging calls for greater integration between health and social care. 

"The way that you talk you would think that the Labour Party had all of the solutions for the health service," she says as she points out funding issues in the NHS in Wales where Mr Corbyn's party is in charge. 

Jeremy Corbyn challenges Theresa May over NHS winter crisis

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader Credit: PA

Mr Corbyn uses his first question to ask the Prime Minister about the NHS winter crisis. 

He asks Mrs May "what words of comfort" she has for the 17,000 people who were left waiting in ambulances upon arrival at hospitals in the last week of December.

Mrs May replies and says the NHS is "regularly under pressure at winter times". 

She also apologises to patients who have had operations and visits to hospitals delayed. 

But she insists: "It is the case that the NHS was better prepared for this winter than ever before."

Mr Corbyn suggests that Mrs May realises that the health service is in crisis because she wanted to sack Jeremy Hunt but was "too weak to do it". 

Mrs May says the Government is putting record funding into the NHS

Theresa May vows to build 'Britain fit for the future'

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, leaves Downing Street for PMQs Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images Europe 

The Prime Minister is now on her feet in the House of Commons and she kicks things off by wishing all MPs and staff a "very happy new year". 

The first question she faces is from Labour MP Mike Amesbury who asks what the Government is doing to tackle unfair practices in the housing sector. 

Mrs May says that the Government is taking action to ensure that tenants are "not subject to practices they should not be subject to". 

She is then asked by James Cleverly, the newly appointed deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, if she will commit to building a "Britain fit for the future". 

Mrs May does and says that key to that ambition will be getting Brexit right. 

"We are building a Britain that can look to the future with optimism and hope," she says. 

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Full list of MPs chosen to ask a question at first PMQs of 2018