Free vote on Smoking Ban Moves Closer

Related tags Tony blair Labour party Gordon brown

The likelihood of Labour MPs being given a free vote on a total smoking ban rose this week after reports suggested members of Tony Blair's Cabinet...

The likelihood of Labour MPs being given a free vote on a total smoking ban rose this week after reports suggested members of Tony Blair's Cabinet back the move.

The Independent reveals ministers now want a free vote because they don't want to risk a major backbench rebellion on the issue.

Currently 95 MPs - 65 of them Labour backbenchers - support an early day motion (EDM) calling for a free vote on ending smoking in public places.

However, Labour's chief whip Hilary Armstrong is believed to oppose the idea of a free vote because the compromise smoking ban proposal was included in the party's election manifesto.

The Conservative Party has already given its MPs a free vote on smoking and the Liberal Democrats are known to favour a total ban.

Therefore, there is real fear in Labour circles that the Government's majority of 66 could be overturned, and the plan to ban smoking in pubs that prepare and serve food would be defeated.

In addition, more than 50 Labour MPs have now given their support to a separate EDM calling for a complete ban in pubs and other public areas.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Nick Bish suggested it was looking less likely that the Government will go through with its plans for a partial smoking ban.

He added: 'I think it's up to the Government to make up its mind. They need to take the industry's views into account on this one.'

Related topics Legislation

Property of the week

BERKSHIRE - RENOVATED PUB WITH FOUR LETTING BEDROOMS

- Leasehold

Village position close to Reading and Newbury Extensively renovated public house Bar, conservatory, snug and function room (80-90) Four en suite letting bedrooms Two bedroom owner/staff accommodation Part-covered trade garden...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more