General Election 2017 – Open Letter

With the UK general election just a couple of weeks away, the Breastfeeding Network is keen to know more about the policies of some of the political parties in relation to infant feeding in the UK.  We have sent an open letter to relevant spokespeople at the main political parties, asking them to summarise their party’s main policies to address these issues.

The letter has been sent to the following people:

  • Secretary of State for Health – Jeremy Hunt (Conservative)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health – Nicola Blackwood (Cons)
  • Shadow Health Secretary – Jon Ashworth (Labour)
  • Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson
  • Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson – Baroness Joan Walmsley
  • Scottish Health Secretary – Shona Robison MSP (SNP)
  • Welsh Health Secretary – Vaughan Gething AM (Co-operative party)
  • Plaid Cymru Health spokesperson – Elin Jones
  • Green Party Health spokesperson – Larry Sanders
  • UKIP Health spokesperson – Louise Bours

You can read the letter in full here and we will share any responses we receive with you as we get them.


We have received our first response to our open letter.  It has come from Baroness Joan Walmsley:

As an Honorary Fellow of Unicef with its Baby Friendly programme, of course I am keen on the widest amount of breastfeeding as possible.”


We have also received a response from Jane Brookman, on behalf of Vaughan Gething AM:

“The Welsh Government recognises and promotes the considerable health benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has been tasked with increasing breastfeeding rates in Wales and addressing the disparity of uptake particularly among young mothers and those from the poorest communities.  It is seeking to do this through embedding action to promote and sustain breastfeeding within its core programmes of work in key settings such as the Healthy School Scheme; Healthy Working Wales; Healthy and Well Communities and the NHS. 

There is an on-going commitment by Public Health Wales to support the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, with health boards in Wales supported to achieve and maintain UNICEF’s UK Baby Friendly accreditation. A Breastfeeding Report Card has also been developed and the data this provides about breastfeeding rates in Wales will allow us to measure success, share good practice and i dentify areas where additional support may be needed. 

You will also be aware that the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition has been carrying out an extensive review of feeding in the first year of life.  The Welsh Government will consider its recommendations following their publication.”

Page last updated May 2017