Further to rumours and reports, I am delighted to confirm that the Working Men's Clubs & Institute Union (CIU) has agreed to join the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign.
Together with Forest, the CIU will lobby MPs to change the law to allow separate smoking rooms in private members' clubs. (Forest will of course continue to fight for smoking rooms in pubs as well.)
The CIU's National Executive agreed to the proposal last month following our extremely productive meeting with general secretary Mick McGlasham in November.
Specific initiatives will be announced shortly. In the meantime I have accepted an invitation to address the CIU's annual general meeting in Blackpool in April. Greg Knight MP, a leading supporter of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, will also attend the conference dinner to demonstrate his support for working mens' clubs.
The CIU describes itself as "the largest non-profit making social entertainment and leisure organisation in the UK, representing the interests and views of four million club members".
Above: yours truly with Mick McGlasham (general secretary, CIU) and Geoff Whewell (chairman, West Midlands branch) following a Forest/Free Society event at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham last year. Below, publicans from East Anglia demonstrate their support at the launch of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign in London in June 2009.
The Bradford Telegraph & Argus today reports that:
A call for the coalition Government to relax parts of the smoking ban is being supported by two of its Bradford MPs.
Bradford East MP David Ward and Shipley MP Philip Davies are backing efforts by the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union and the Save Our Pubs and Clubs Campaign for a review, following decisions in Denmark and Holland to allow smoking areas in some premises.
Liberal Democrat MP Mr Ward, a member of Idle Working Men’s Club, said club and pub owners should have the right to choose if they wanted to open an area for smokers inside their premises.
Conservative MP Mr Davies said he believed the outright smoking ban was causing major harm to the pub and club trade.
Mr Ward, who is also treasurer of the All Party Parlimentary Group for Non-Profit Making Members Clubs, said he felt it was time the Government heeded the calls for a review into the smoking ban.
Full report HERE.