There have been some quite unexpected topics arising in Westminster of late. First there was Theresa May announcing the appearance of a Tory MP on Celebrity First Dates during PMQs – and now the House of Lords is using Love Island in a public health debate.
There is only one possible explanation: in an attempt to find something – anything – to distract them from Brexit, our government has become transfixed by reality television.
In a clip that has surfaced on Twitter, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Storey can be heard campaigning for a minister to put pressure on media regulator Ofcom to tighten sanctions on the show for its perceived glamorisation of smoking.
‘I don’t know whether he is a regular watcher of Love Island,” Lord Storey says, “but if he were to look at the ITV website, it describes Love Island as ‘an emotional feast of lust and passion in the sun’.
“The same website says that this programme captures a 56% share of 16-34-year-olds. On this programme, those contestants are regularly smoking.
“What message does that send to young people? That I can live a glamorous life if I smoke as well. And I’m surprised that Ofcom’s broadcasting code says that smoking must not be glamorised in programmes likely to be seen widely, or heard by under 18-year-olds, unless there is editorial justification.
“Doesn’t the minister think that Ofcom should really take action in this matter?”
To which Conservative Culture Minister, Lord Ashton, responds: “I’m not a regular watcher of Love Island, but I can’t help noticing that the house is unusually full today.”
If you needed any further proof of the influence the last series of Love Island had on the UK, there you have it.