Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Blasts Tories For Doing 'Nothing' To Tackle Obesity

Celebrity chef clashes with health secretary Victoria Atkins during live TV interview.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has accused the Conservatives of having done “nothing” to tackle obesity during their 14 years in power.

The celebrity chef said voters should be”very wary” of any promises made by Tory ministers in the run-up to the election.

It came as Fearnley-Whittingstall challenged health secretary Victoria Atkins directly on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“Treating obesity is the single biggest cost to the NHS,” he told her. “You’ve done next to nothing to help this ailing, struggling, sick citizens of the UK to find healthier food. Next to nothing about it.”

Atkins said she had only been in the job for three months and would be setting out a prevention strategy” that would “of course will include obesity”.

“Over the coming weeks, you will see the government set out our plans,” she said.

In response, presenter Laura Kuenssberg listed several times the government had decided not to act including delaying a ban on multi-buy deals on food and drinks high in fat and salt a pre-watershed TV and online ad ban on junk food.

Fearnley-Whittingstall said there were a “whole raft of policy levers” the government should be using.

“If they were serious about tackling obesity they would be pulling all of them,” he said. “They have done nothing they haven’t made tiny dent. ”

The chef also revealed chancellor Jeremy Hunt “actually physically ran away” from him in 2018 when he was trying to interview the then-heath secretary for a BBC documentary about obesity.

He said having finally agreed to an interview, Hunt had promised to reduce childhood obesity in the UK by 50%. “I would say be very wary of a Tory minister promising to reduce anything by 50%,” Fearnley-Whittingstall added.


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