Leicester

Leicester MP Keith Vaz urges Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour to avoid city

Coca-Cola Christmas truck in Liverpool city centre Image copyright PA
Image caption Coca-Cola launched its Christmas trucks on a TV advert in 1995, but real trucks now visit cities around the world

A diabetic MP is asking Coca-Cola not to bring its Christmas truck to Leicester, accusing the company of marketing a "real health hazard".

Keith Vaz insists he does not want to be a "killjoy", but said the truck would send the wrong message in a city where Type 2 diabetes is rising and a third of children have tooth decay.

He predicts people will protest if the truck does come to the city.

Coca-Cola said it was still coming but would not give drinks to under-12s.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The truck is due to come to Leicester on 17 December - the final of 46 stops on Coca-Cola Great Britain's Christmas truck tour

Mr Vaz previously criticised the sponsorship deal between Coca-Cola and the London Eye.

"I know people like special things happening at Christmas, but Coca-Cola are coming to promote their product and in each can of Coke there are seven teaspoons of sugar," he said.

Updates on this story and more from Leicestershire

If the truck does come, Mr Vaz wants the company to make it clear how much sugar is in each product.

"People will protest against the arrival of this truck and it will not be welcomed in the way in which I think they would have hoped," said the Leicester East MP.

The truck is due to visit Leicester on 17 December - one of 46 stops on Coca-Cola Great Britain's Christmas truck tour.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jamie Oliver, who is campaigning for a tax on sugary drinks, has criticised the way Coca-Cola is marketed

TV chef Jamie Oliver has also criticised the way Coca-Cola is marketed in a documentary called Jamie's Sugar Rush.

He visited Mexico, where one in 10 adults has diabetes, and filmed a mother alternating between giving breast milk and Coke to her baby.

He is campaigning for a tax on sugary drinks in the UK.

Image caption MP Keith Vaz gave up sugar when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes

Coca-Cola Great Britain said in a statement: "We're delighted to be visiting Leicester this year as part of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour.

"Our Christmas truck tour also operates in line with our responsible marketing policy so we don't sample our drinks directly to under-12s.

"There will also be an opportunity to choose one of the four Coca-Cola variants to enjoy - this includes Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero, our no calorie, no sugar variants."

Commentators took to Facebook to poke fun at Mr Vaz's views with many pointing out he has made made no warnings about Diwali- a major celebration in Leicester.

Indian sweets are traditionally shared during the festival of light.

Image copyright Facebook/BBC

Ian Wilcox Burdett wrote on Facebook simply "clown" while Daryl Smith added: "A complete idiot. We don't really want him in Leicester!"

Lky Loki said: "He is being a killjoy. The truck itself represents Christmas for me. I don't drink coke anyways but want to take my kids into town to see it."

But others supported the MP's views.

Elaine Scott agreed: "It is a health hazard" and Gavin Long said: "Soda is NOT good for Humans. If you're not Human it's still not OK."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites