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« Norris McWhirter and the BBC: loose words cost reputations | Main | Forest petition - final total »

Tory and Lib Dem rebels fight back against Big Government

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.

Reader Comments (11)

Bloody marvellous and about time. Could stir the pot up a bit. Well done those people to restore a bit of faith in our, previously, much vaunted system.

December 18, 2010 at 17:34 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Here is a fetching phtotgraph of Junior Health Minister Anne Milton MP addressing ASH at its AGM on the 15th December 2010.

I don't think that she is being even handed nest pas?

December 18, 2010 at 17:49 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Fantastic timing. Being classic puritans, anti-smokers can't tolerate happiness. That's become obvious as time goes by. No matter how many victories they win, they're never satisfied, let alone happy.

Even in victory they sneer at the smokers and exaggerate about the freshness of an empty pub's air as they type away in a forum, never having set foot in one. But the nagging thought of someone puffing away somewhere, defiantly enjoying a fag spoils the moment. These are incredibly miserable irrational people.

"Big tobacco has stolen Christmas."

God bless us, every one.

December 18, 2010 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Brian Oblivion

I recall that MPs were given a free vote on the smoking ban legislation and this allowed Labour to renege on a manifesto promise to provide choice of smoking and non-smoking venues.

I gave Cameron and the Tories the benefit of the doubt that they would reduce Big Government and as far as I am concerned the tobacco display ban and plain packaging fall into this category. The lack of review of the smoking ban has been a massive disappointment, so, Cameron, show some backbone and ditch this nonsense now. I wait with baited breathe!!

December 18, 2010 at 18:57 | Unregistered CommenterBill C

And, Mr Cameron, if you find the guts to do this, then follow it up with a review of the ban, which was promised and has yet to transpire.

Stop going back on your word and your manifesto - too many people are losing faith as it is and you haven't been PM for a year yet!

December 18, 2010 at 21:31 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Slightly OT but nvertheless relevant. I heard a phrase tonight which I loved - "All things in moderation, including moderation".

December 18, 2010 at 22:18 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Well I never, there are some Liberals in the LIberal Democrats after all.

December 18, 2010 at 22:32 | Unregistered CommenterCW


About a third. Adrian Sanders the Lid Dem for Torbay may well have been influenced by the many commentators in the local press who took exeption to the smoking ban.

We are all making a difference.

December 18, 2010 at 22:37 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

The so-called review of the smoking ban was only ever going one way with Nulabour - bans in the open air, bans in cars, criminalisation so bans could be forced in the home.

I would hope that the coalition would carry out a fair review if one was carried out or else it would be yet another waste of public cash to support ideology. Nulabour commissioned the review at a cost of almost £2 Million to the public purse. An FOI request denied me access to this review until it had been "peer reviewed" which I assumed meant "cherry-picked".

I have a little faith restored, in what has become an overbearing manipulation of smoker behaviour and social engineering, that some MPs are at last beginning to realise that the smoking issue is not necessarily all about health.

It is more importantly about freedom, choice, and denormalisation which cannot be justified under any circumstances.

December 18, 2010 at 23:03 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

So ASH has nothing to say on the matter? I suppose they may not. They prefer to declare each victory in advance and crow when it happens and crow as if it happens when it doesn't. It's the way propagandists operate.

Has anyone heard a peep from the ASH heap?

December 19, 2010 at 0:57 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Brian Oblivion

'Nice' photo, Dave (Atherton)

I looked through the rest of the photos in that ASH collection and found this one even more disturbing.

Maybe I am just old fashioned, but seeing a Government Minister schmoozing with the CEO of a mendacious single issue fanatical bogus charity like this makes me sick to the stomach. Just who does she think she s supposed to serve?

Simon, why don't you invite her to address Forest's next AGM? It would be worth becoming a member, just to have the opportunity to go and put her knowledge to the test!

Her Wiki profile has this little gem:

"In February 2006, Milton was among a minority of Conservative MPs to oppose exceptions for private clubs from the proposed Smoking ban in England.[5] Milton had previously announced her opposition to a partial ban, stating it was "the worst possible solution. In summer 2007 David Cameron appointed her Shadow Minister for Health."

She is also married to the Director of Public Health for the East Surrey PCT. So, no conflict of interest there then.

This is just another example of a CINO (Conservative In Name Only) being fast-tracked to high office in Cameron's new Tory-free party.

No matter how many Conservative MPs support this campaign, it is clear it is never going to get anywhere while someone like Anne Milton is part of the government.

Shame on her and shame on Cameron. Where has my party gone?

December 19, 2010 at 2:17 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

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