Page 3 Profile: Anna Soubry, Conservative MP


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The Independent Online

Another attack on junk food?

Earlier this week, Tory MP Anna Soubry sparked a row by saying "you can almost tell somebody's background by their weight".

The minister for public health, renowned for speaking her mind regardless of whether it tallies with the consensus or not, said: "Obviously, not everybody who is overweight comes from deprived backgrounds but that's where the propensity lies."

Some felt she had overstepped the mark, but others lauded her courage; were there more Anna Soubrys in the world, Little Jimmy might be encouraged to put down his fifth packet of Quavers and pick up an apple.

But Little Jimmy can rest easy for now, because Ms Soubry has a new target.

Errr… obesity in the upper classes?

Guess again. She's fired her arrow at the increasingly common tendency for workers to dine al-desko. "Today, people don't get paid for their lunch. It's mad and it's wrong," she told the Telegraph. "Also, it's disgusting eating over a keyboard."

Ms Soubry seemed to suggest a French-style lunch during which people dared to "enjoy" their food, rather than diving into their Pret sandwiches like famished piranhas. She has told staff at her constituency office in Broxtowe, Nottingham, to "take time out to have a meal", but admitted she hasn't always practised what she preaches. "When I came here, they said, 'minister, we'll get your food.' I thought, 'how kind'. [But] it was to keep me at my desk," she said.

Did Ms Soubry have anything else to add on the subject of the nation's eating habits?

Of course she did. She said that it was strange that the British are obsessed with cookery programmes, especially since the tradition of home cooking has been lost. "We are a weird nation," she said. "We consume television programmes about cooking, all the books, but we don't as a nation, any more, cook."

She also expressed horror at the fact that so many children are unable to use a knife and fork, and has banned her daughters from using the word "fat" at home to prevent them becoming "obsessed with their weight". Ms Soubry speaks plainly, and (whisper it) she could even be speaking sense.