Labour rebels plot to force total smoke ban

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Related tags: Total smoking ban, Smoking ban, John grogan

by Ewan Turney A group of Labour rebels is set to join forces with opposition MPs to force the Government to bring in a total smoking ban. As many as...

by Ewan Turney

A group of Labour rebels is set to join forces with opposition MPs to force the Government to bring in a total smoking ban.

As many as 37 Labour MPs have signed up to an 'early day motion' calling for all MPs to be given a free vote on the issue.

Rebels will try to force an amendment to the bill, paving the way for a total smoke ban.

The bill, which outlines plans to ban smoking in all pubs that prepare and serve food by the summer of 2007, is set for a second reading on 30 November.

Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Labour MP John Grogan said there were only two choices left in regard to a ban. 'It is now a question of a complete ban or sticking to the food-based Government plan,' he said.

'It is hard to see anything else happening now. The idea of smoking rooms is probably dead.'

Grogan predicted a vote on the current proposals would be 'quite close' with a number of Labour backbenchers favouring a complete ban.

'It is a mess and I would now vote for a complete ban as it is preferable to the Government's plan which would see food taken out of some pubs and weigh the market towards private clubs.'

Grogan urged the industry to make up its mind quickly on the ban. 'Let's not kid ourselves, there are two options left. I think many in the industry would prefer a total ban now to what is on offer, particularly if there can be some negotiation on the date of implementation.'

Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley said the Government's plan was 'untenable' and would do nothing to cut health inequalities. 'Nobody except John Reid thinks it will work,' he said.

Related topics: Legislation

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