Sponsors for the World Athletics Championships

MQT on 2012-09-19
Session date: 
September 19, 2012
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Will you argue for some basic criteria for sponsors to ensure the Championships promote healthy eating?


Answer for Sponsors for the World Athletics Championships

Answer for Sponsors for the World Athletics Championships

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The answer again

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- is, yes.

Jenny Jones (AM): Look I have not had 12 minutes for years and I have now got five minutes to fill. So that because

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You could find we have got five minutes on this.

Jenny Jones (AM): Is that because you agree with the Vice Chair of the Royal Medical Colleges and Chair of their Obesity Steering Group. He was talking about the Olympics and he said

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Do we have to have five minutes on this? Sorry, move on.

Darren Johnson (Chair): We do not have to have five minutes, but Jenny can exercise her five minutes if she wishes.

Jenny Jones (AM): I would just like to make it clear exactly what you are going to do. Professor Terence Stephenson said: 'It is very said that an event that celebrates the very best of athletic achievement should be sponsored by companies contributing to the obesity problem and unhealthy habits.' Of course at the World Athletic Championships in 2017 you actually will have some opportunity to make a difference there and refuse to take advertisements and sponsorship from unhealthy manufactures.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Such as?

Jenny Jones (AM): Well, I am suggesting that it would not be a good idea to follow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and take sponsorship from people who, perhaps, are not very ethical and also do not produce the sort of food that actually contributes to any sort of healthy life.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Which companies? I mean, if you are talking about McDonalds, are you?

Jenny Jones (AM): Amongst others, yes.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, if you are hostile to McDonalds, I have to say that I do not share your view. I think there is a lot of bourgeois snobbery about this.

Jenny Jones (AM): This is not about snobbery, this is about highly processed, high fat, high sugar, very unhealthy foods.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The problem, you know, this does not go for all fast food outlets by any means, I think there is a discussion to be had about the proximity of fried chicken shops with schools and all the rest of it. When it comes to McDonalds I would remind you, Jenny, that -- and let me ask you what did Usain Bolt eat on the day he ran the second fastest 100 metres in history?

Jenny Jones (AM): All right, let me bring you

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): What did he eat?

Jenny Jones (AM): Let me bring you back

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Do you know the answer?

Jenny Jones (AM): Let me bring you back

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Shall I tell you what he ate? He ate McDonalds.

Jenny Jones (AM): Let me

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Now I have to say

Jenny Jones (AM): Look, just because he is a supreme athlete does not mean he is sensible Do you know for example, I mean, I do not know if you know this or not, but there are restrictions on advertising on television (TV) and foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar and so on are not allowed to advertise during children's TV. So why not have this at a sporting event? It makes sense to actually not link unhealthy food with supreme athleticism.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Look, this is most amazing. Are you saying that we should prevent Usain Bolt from eating the food he wants in order to run 100 metres. Are you

Jenny Jones (AM): Could you

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- saying? Or are you saying that we should allow him to do it, but conceal that fact from the children of the world?

Jenny Jones (AM): You have never really understood the process here. The process here is that I ask you questions and you answer them.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, I think I have answered.

Jenny Jones (AM): So you said yes at the very beginning to my question, which was, will you argue for some basic criteria for sponsors. What sort of basis criteria are you imagining then if you are not going to not use manufacturers of unhealthy food? What sort of basic criteria are you thinking?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think what

Jenny Jones (AM): Money? The size of money they give you?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): To be totally serious, what I think these companies would say is they do their -- you know, they do promote healthy alternatives and they do try to -- I think there is stuff that you eat at McDonalds that are not hamburgers. They would argue that what they are providing is no less healthy than plenty of other things

Jenny Jones (AM): Do you read anything about this sort of food?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- people could buy in

Jenny Jones (AM): It is absolutely appalling. I think you are going to bring out an obesity Strategy soon, are you not?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The problem with hamburgers

Jenny Jones (AM): If you bring out obesity

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The problem with hamburgers is not necessarily what they contain it is the number of them that you eat.

Jenny Jones (AM): Oh, please! Please, that is ridiculous. Honestly! All right, listen. Will your Obesity Strategy -- can you stop heckling please, it is incredibly rude. Will your Obesity Strategy -- can you shut him up?

Darren Johnson (Chair): Yes. If Members can be quiet while Jenny concludes her questioning.

Jenny Jones (AM): Will your obesity Strategy look at the role of junk food and drink sponsorship and its impact on children's eating habits? Will it?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. I am trying to draw a distinction between McDonalds, which to the best of my knowledge makes a big effort in this, and I understand that you have strong criticisms of the firm, but it does make a big effort, as far as it can, to promote the healthiest possible stuff on its menu. It is also a massive employer

Jenny Jones (AM): Can you please answer my question about your obesity Strategy?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- in London.

Jenny Jones (AM): Will it look at the issue of junk food?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, I think it is right that we should look at some of the junk food that is being sold across London. Particularly, I am concerned about the rash of fried chicken shops that appear often very, very near schools. It is difficult

Jenny Jones (AM): What did your 'yes' mean at the beginning when you said you were going to look at basic criteria? What did your 'yes' mean?

Darren Johnson (Chair): Right. A very, very quick final answer to that because the Green group are now out of time.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, as I say I am sure McDonalds can satisfy you about the healthy eating that they promote. That is the criteria that we would look at. Nobody is proposing to get the local, you know, flash fried 'frazfurtter' den to be sponsoring the 2017 Athletics competition.

Darren Johnson (Chair): Thank you. That concludes the questions. So thank you to the Mayor. There will be no other business, that concludes the meeting. Thank you, Members. Thank you, Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you.