Last week, I revealed that Anne Milton had held a meeting - which was initially hidden from her official ministerial record - with ASH and the APPG on Smoking and Health, the aim of which seemed to be to discount half a million signatures objecting to the policy.
What made this approach even more grubby was the fact that meetings of this nature shouldn't take place during a consultation process, as Andrew Lansley quite rightly communicated to Cancer Research UK when they attempted to meet with him on June 27th to lobby for plain packaging.
As I am sure you will understand, there are many groups with interest in this issue and it would not be possible, or appropriate, for me to try to meet with everyone who has an interest while the consultation is underway.
Well, it seems that this didn't satisfy CRUK.
Instead, they approached Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Earl Howe - according to DoH transparency documents released just over a week ago - and succeeded in arranging a meeting in July [page 7]. The brief description in Earl Howe's register couldn't be more clear.
Purpose of meeting: "To discuss the environment of health research and plain packaging of tobacco products"
So, in the month after Lansley had refused a meeting with CRUK on the grounds that it would be 'inappropriate' while a consultation is ongoing, Earl Howe did exactly the opposite.
And, you know, it's got me thinking. I wonder what was said?