Government sets out smoke vote rules.

By Iain O'Neil

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Democracy Patricia hewitt

Government sets out smoke vote rules.
A total smoke ban appears a step nearer after the Government announced a free vote on three choices.

A total smoke ban appears a step nearer after the Government announced a free vote for MPs.

The Government announced three choices

  • A total smoke ban

A ban for pubs but not private club

A ban only affecting pubs which serve food.

The vote is expected to take place on February 14 and Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs seem largely in favour of a complete ban.

The complete ban also has the backing of a growing number of Conservatives but there is still a strong vote in favour of exempting clubs.

Any exemption for member's clubs would spell disaster for Britain's pubs.

Yesterday a spokesman for health secretary Patricia Hewitt said she was "agnostic"​ on the issue and would be consulting with private clubs in her constituency before deciding how to vote on the exemption.

She will back a full ban in pubs.

Ms Hewitt originally supported a near-complete ban but was forced to retreat after opposition in the cabinet led by her predecessor, John Reid.

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Steve Webb, said yesterday: "The whole thing is a complete farce. The health secretary should have had the courage of her convictions from the start and gone for a clear and total ban.

"The government has got itself into a complete mess."

Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, backed a total ban saying: "All employees, including those who work in private members' clubs, deserve the right to work in a safe environment. Anything other than a comprehensive law would leave thousands of workers unprotected."

Related topics Legislation

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