Vaz and ELSPA: ‘We don’t need gamers in Parliament’

Labour MP for Leicester East Keith Vaz said that Members Of Parliament can “speak from an informed viewpoint” on games – and discuss policy that affects publishers and retailers – without hands-on experience.

"Members of Parliament may not play video games themselves, but most will have families and children who enjoying playing," Vaz told MCV. "This helps keep them informed of new developments and issues from the video games agenda."

Director general of ELSPA Paul Jackson agreed. "Clearly you do not have to be a gamer to suggest policies on the games industry any more than you need to be a doctor to do so with the NHS," he told MCV.

"However, games are rated on their content and senior politicians need to make sure they are properly informed of the content before making a public statement that could possibly be damaging to an important British industry."

The comments come after Shadow Minister For Higher Education Boris Johnson was widely criticised as ignorant after condemning games as "narcotics for children" and blaming consoles for a drop in literacy amongst young people.

Vaz previously encouraged Tony Blair to ban Canis Canem Edit from the UK because of its violent content, without having played the game. The Prime Minister later confessed: "I haven’t seen the game myself."

Retailer The DSG Group subsequently banned Canis Canem Edit from its Currys and PC World stores and online Dixons site.

Jackson added: "ELSPA have always been and will always be more than willing to fully brief Mr Vaz or any other politician on any game prior to making public statements regarding content."

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