THE Government has been accused of abandoning the campaign to stop the fluoridation of Hampshire water supplies.
High profile Tories had pledged before the election to step in to ensure the controversial scheme is not imposed in the face of public opposition.
But they have now admitted they have no plans to change the law on how the chemical is introduced.
Anti-fluoride campaigners say they fear some Conservatives may have been using the subject purely to win votes in hotly-contested Hampshire seats.
The setback comes after Tory New Forest East MP Julian Lewis, who has consistently campaigned against fluoridation, asked for confirmation that promises from then shadow health ministers will go ahead.
Almost 200,000 homes in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams are to have fluoridated tap water, under a scheme approved by South Central Strategic Health Authority last year.
But during a public consultation, in which 10,000 people gave their views, 72 per cent of those from the affected area said they opposed the plans.
In January, the now health secretary Andrew Lansley told the Daily Echo he believed the SHA’s consultation, which is now the subject of a High Court legal challenge, was “not real”.
And Prime Minister David Cameron told this paper: “I have always taken the view that this is something that should be decided locally and I don’t believe in compulsory fluoridation of water.”
But responding to Dr Lewis’ question in Parliament, leader of the House Sir George Young said there are “no plans at this stage” to change the law surrounding fluoride being added to water supplies.
He said: “I would mislead my honourable friend if I said we were planning to do anything in the short term to change the legislative framework in which the decisions are made.”
Hampshire Against Fluoridation chairman Stephen Peckham said he had been “disappointed” by the coalition’s lack of action.
He said: “You question whether people have been using the entire fluoridation campaign to garner votes – were they just saying it for that purpose?
“We were looking for a more positive response.
“Before the election the shadow minister was very clear that whilst it would not be one of their priorities, it was definitely something that they would look at.
“I think we would expect to see some movement, and that the department should be looking at this.”
Dr Lewis also said he was disappointed, but added that he has continued to press Mr Lansley to take action.
He said: “I shall be reminding the secretary of state for health of the excellent pledge from his former spokesman that it’s vital the people would have to agree before any decision is taken.
“I expect that to be upheld, regardless of the outcome of the judicial review.
“I think there’s a loophole in the law that needs to be closed. I hope that what we’re doing in Southampton will, ultimately, lead to the closure of that loophole that allows unelected and undemocratic organisations like strategic health authorities to say they’ve taken account that everyone disagrees with them, but they’re going to carry on regardless.”