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'Lauren's Law' campaigners nominated for Petition Campaign of the Year Award

10 February 2022

Elaine Cunningham and Brian Mcelderry have been nominated for the Petition Campaign of the Year Award at the Your UK Parliament Awards.

The Petition Campaign of the Year Award celebrates the inspiring people who have used petitions started on Parliament’s petitions website to build support for their campaigns for change. This nomination follows their campaigning on the issue of salbutamol inhalers in commercial kitchens.

Elaine, from Glasgow, and Brian, from Consett, started the petition “To allow non-prescribed storage of Salbutamol Inhalers in Commercial Kitchens” after Elaine’s daughter Lauren died in February 2020 following heart attack triggered by a severe asthma attack while working at a bar in Glasgow. Although Lauren usually carried an inhaler, she did not have it on this occasion. Elaine joined forces with Brian, Executive Director of the national chef’s union Unichef, to start a petition in Lauren’s name calling on the Government to grant a prescription control exemption for commercial kitchens.

Elaine has been active on social media to build support for her cause, with her posts on TikTok receiving more than 2 million views. In addition to Unichef, her campaign is also supported by Asthma UK.

The petition achieved more than 102,000 signatures, and was debated in Parliament on 29 November 2021. To inform the debate, a private call was held between Nick Fletcher MP, who was asked to open the debate, Elaine, and Brian, at which they discussed the reasons behind the petition, and what the hospitality sector could do to support the storage of inhalers for emergency use. Nick Fletcher also met with representatives of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the body responsible for granting exemptions from prescription control, to discuss what needed to be done in order to grant an exemption to commercial kitchens.

During his speech in the debate, Nick Fletcher MP discussed the case for Lauren’s Law, and asked the Government to facilitate the gathering of the evidence the MHRA would need in order to consider a prescription control exemption. In response, the Minister stated that the Department for Health would explore commissioning such research.

The Your UK Parliament Awards judging panel will select the winners shortly, and the full list of nominees and the winner will be announced in due course. The panel includes MPs, members of the House of Lords, campaigning bodies, and past Award winners.

The other nominees

  • Dr Daniel Allen, Debbie Matthews, Dr Marc Abraham, Freya Woodhall, Beverley Cuddy, and John Cooper QC, for their campaign calling for pet theft to be made a specific criminal offence
  • Tim Brennan and Ian Smith, for their campaign calling on the Government to negotiate visa- and work permit-free EU travel for touring artists
  • Beckie Ramsay BEM, for her campaign to improve education about water safety in schools, particularly the risks associated with open water

Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, comments

“These campaigns demonstrate so powerfully how petitions can raise awareness of issues that might otherwise struggle to be heard in Parliament.

“The nominees have each shown how to organise a successful campaign, building on their petitions by gathering support from others affected by the same issue, charities, influential supporters, and the wider public.

“I have been moved by our nominees’ passion, determination, and ideas for how to tackle the problems they’ve set their minds to, and congratulate them on their achievements.”

The Your UK Parliament Awards

The annual Your UK Parliament Awards recognise the individuals across the UK who have taken democratic action on the issues they care about. In addition to the Petitions Campaign of the Year Award, there are a further seven categories, which celebrate individuals, schools, and organisations who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.

Further Information

Image: Elaine Cunningham