MPs today rejected David Nuttall's 10-Minute Rule Bill to amend the smoking ban.
Watched the "debate" on BBC Parliament. David gave a good, measured speech concentrating on two issues - the economic case and freedom of choice and localism (ie allowing decisions on smoking policy to be devolved to the lowest appropriate level).
David was opposed by Kevin Barron (Labour), former chairman of the Health Select Committee, whose speech came straight out of the ASH handbook. Sadly, the format of the debate (one speaker only per side) meant that it was impossible for anyone to counter Barron's points which included - as someone has mentioned elsewhere - a comment cherry-picked from (and possibly planted on) David's own blog.
Update: From Smoke and Mirrors by Deborah Arnott and Ian Willmore of ASH (Guardian, July 19, 2006):
Political champions are essential. Our coalition owes a sincere gratitude to numerous politicians and officials. The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, risked his own position to argue the case for comprehensive smoke-free legislation. Kevin Barron MP, chair of the health select committee, guided committee members to a unanimous report from his committee on the issue, and persuaded them to back an all-party amendment (framed by our coalition) that forced the government to concede a free vote.
All's not lost, though. As a colleague has just commented: "Disappointing result, but to have over a third of MPs voting on a Ten Minute Rule Bill suggests a continuing strong interest on the issue and we need to maintain momentum."
Too true. The fight goes on.
PS. We'll have the list of MPs who voted later today. Watch this space.
Guido has this to say:
David Nuttall’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to have the smoking ban amended so that private clubs and pubs would allow smoking, if they wanted it, has sadly just been shot down in the Commons. But the result of ayes 86, noes 141 shows the growing popularity for such an idea. This was a mere lone backbencher’s campaign thrown together hastily on the luck of a draw. With a coordinated movement within the coalition who knows what could happen ...
Above: Conservative MP Steve Baker on Twitter.
MP David Nuttall's bid to end smoking ban in pubs fails (BBC News)
Smoking ban exemptions bid defeated (Press Association)