A Labour MP refused to continue a debate until a Tory could bring himself to utter the word "tampon".
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, told Sir Bill Cash she would not let him to interject again “unless he uses the term ‘sanitary towels and tampons’ because I think it’s really important in this house that we use the appropriate wording.”
Sir Bill, MP for Stone, repeatedly referred to tampons as “these products” during a debate about a proposed amendment to the Finance Bill put forward by Labour MP Paula Sherriff to renegotiate the 5 per cent ‘tampon tax’ applied to sanitary products because they are considered a ‘luxury item’.
I am completely on the side of those who want to see a total elimination of VAT on these products,” he said.
He later said: “Surely what this really boils down to is that the European institutions intend to and actually do tax women on these products in order to get the money to run the very system that is discriminatory.”
When Sir Bill tried to interject again, Ms Creasy replied: “I have been very clear with the honourable gentleman. Unless he is prepared to talk about the actual products that we are discussing, I will not take any more interventions from him, but if he is indicating that he can say the word, I will happily give way.”
Mr Cash followed Ms Creasy’s ultimatum, starting his argument: “With the question in relation to sanitary towels and tampons…” which was met with loud cheers from the opposition benches.
The full exchange can be read here:
The 5 per cent rate is currently the lowest allowed under EU law.
In spite of the apparent progress, the amendment was eventually rejected in the commons. However, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke pledged to raise the issue with the European Commission and other member states.
Sanitary products, including tampons are currently subject to a five per cent ‘luxury’ tax; something that jaffa cakes, pita bread and razors are not.
Supporters of the amendment want the UK government to press to re-negotiate their labelling of sanitary products as ‘luxury’ and instead consider them a ‘necessity’.
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