Thanks to Peter Thurgood for drawing my attention to this remarkable - some might call it exciting - story on ConservativeHome: Fifty Conservative MPs demand a free vote on shop tobacco display ban.
Former Conservative MP and Telegraph leader writer Paul Goodman writes:
The EU (in the news this morning), crime, tax - all these are well known causes of Conservative backbench rebellion. But the backing that Tory MPs gave to Nuttall's bill is a reminder that though smoking is a less well recognised issue, it can provoke no less primal a response.
Andrew Lansley and Vince Cable should therefore eye carefully a letter about Labour's tobacco display ban that's about to land on their desks. It reminds them of "the pre-election pledges of both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat Party to reconsider the tobacco display ban", adding that "there is a very high level of expectation" that the Coalition will honour these commitments.
The letter has been signed to date by 53 Coalition MPs, all but five of them Conservative, but "more signatures are being added to all the time, meaning that over 50 Tories have signed".
How marvellous to see backbench MPs (Lib Dems as well as Tories) fighting back, with Big Government the target.
The tobacco control industry will be having kittens today. However, as Spectator blogger Alex Massie pointed out on Tuesday, in respect of the smoking ban, the real debate is not about smoking, it's about individual businesses and an overbearing government.
The same is true of a display ban. So let's hope the Coalition Government sees sense, sticks to its pre-Election policy and announces that Labour's display ban has finally been consigned to history.
Note: you can comment on ConHome HERE.
The Tobacco Retailers Alliance, which has fought long and hard against a tobacco display ban, has made a short film to "to convey our season's greetings". No wonder they look happy. Enjoy.