30 Jun 2009

Southampton daily Echo - Fluoride referendum not possible says MP

Fluoride referendum not possible says MP
HOLDING a referendum on plans to fluoridate Hampshire's tap water is "unrealistic", a Southampton MP has warned.
There have been mounting calls for the public to be given a vote over the controversial scheme, after health chiefs backed it despite widespread public opposition.
But Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead believes staging a single-issue referendum would not be possible because it would set a precedent that could then be applied to all sorts of issues.
"These suggestions are not realistic to where we are now," he said, adding that believes the legislation
needed would be fraught
with problems. Having a referendum on fluoridation would set a precedent for any aspect of British sub-national public life. "It would have to be followed up
with a referendum on any decision to build a road, where to put a walk-in centre, or what maternity facilities to provide, because these are all issues that are important to people involved."
Dr Whitehead has backed the scheme to add fluoride to the tap water delivered to nearly 200,000 homes in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams, saying he believes it will improve children's teeth. However, he recently called for the process to be put on hold for an examination of the way the public consultation was carried out.

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