UK

Keith Vaz Says Coca-Cola Truck Would Spark Protests In Leicester, Residents On Twitter Respond

04/11/2015 13:55 GMT | Updated 04/11/2015 16:59 GMT
MARCIAL ANGELO via Getty Images
BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 4: A local Coca Cola salesman dressed as Santa Claus riding a specially decorated delivery truck visits an orphanage in Bacolod city in central Philippines, 04 December 1999, where he distributed gifts to the ophans bringing cheers in the spirit of the Christmas season. (Photo credit should read MARCIAL ANGELO/AFP/Getty Images)

Labour MP Keith Vaz has warned that the Coca-Cola truck will not be welcome if it pulls into Leicester over the festive period.

The city's MP, who has type two diabetes, said that he does not want to be a "killjoy", but said that "people will protest" against the truck if it arrives.

But residents have criticised the Labour MP for his comments, saying he does not speak "for all of Leicester" and that he is trying to "spoil it for everyone".

keith vaz

Keith Vaz says people do not want the Coca-Cola truck in Leicester

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Mr Vaz said: "I know people like special things happening at Christmas, but Coca-Cola are coming to promote their product and in each can of Coke there are seven teaspoons of sugar."

He added: "People will protest against the arrival of this truck and it will not be welcomed in the way in which I think they would have hoped."

On Tuesday, the drinks company announced that it was due to visit Leicester on December 17 at the end of its tour of Great Britain.

Coca-Cola's "Holidays are coming" advertising gambit will see its Christmas truck visit 46 locations across the country.

Residents who are worried that Mr Vaz's comments might deter the drinks giant from visiting Leicester have voiced their anger at his comments.

While others said that he raises an important point about sugar in children's drinks.

The 58-year-old politician said that, if the big red truck does visit he wants Coca-Cola to make it clear how much sugar is in each product.

A Coca-Cola Great Britain spokesperson said: "The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour provides a moment of fun for the family in the build-up to Christmas and we’ve had a positive response from many people in Leicester to the news that it will stop there this year.

"People will have the opportunity to see the truck up close, have their photograph taken with it and enjoy a small (150ml) can of any of the four Coca-Cola variants we make, which include Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero, our no sugar options.

"We have a policy not to market our products to under 12s, and will therefore not be providing drinks to under 12s unless their parent or guardian is happy for us to do so."

Mr Vaz founded the diabetes charity Silver Star.

His comments come as unhealthy drinks are being thrust into the limelight as pressure mounts for MPs to introduce a sugar tax.

Experts say that a tax on sugary drinks, such as Coca-Cola, will help to curb child obesity.

Jamie Oliver championed the tax, urging David Cameron to be "brave" and impose a tax on sugary drinks in order to tackle obesity.

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