The organisers of the Glyndebourne festival have been accused of "driving a coach and horses" through legislation designed to stop tobacco firms backing cultural events after they accepted sponsorship from the cigarette firm British American Tobacco (BAT).
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who spearheaded the 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act, told The Independent on Sunday that Glyndebourne and BAT were exploiting a loophole which allows sponsorship by tobacco companies, as long as specific products – the cigarette brands – were not advertised.
"If they are able to do this in Glyndebourne, what else will they be able to sponsor?" he said. "It drives a coach and horses through the legislation."
The opera director Jonathan Miller said that the sponsorship of the opera Carmen, which begins today, was appalling. "Opera, which relies on breath, shouldn't be financed by something that takes breath away," he said.
Glyndebourne did not comment. BAT said the law was not being broken.