Partial smoking ban would be 'unfair and unworkable'
Members of the Commons Select Committee on Health said plans to allow smoking in private clubs and pubs that did not serve food were "unfair, unjust and unworkable".
The MPs called for ministers to impose a full ban on smoking in all public places, including military bases and prisons, saying that the proposed exemptions to a ban represented "a recipe for chaos".
The committee's chairman, the Labour MP Kevin Barron, took a sideswipe yesterday at the Defence Secretary, John Reid, who led a cabinet battle against a full ban. Mr Barron warned: "The case is one of protecting political egos, not protecting public health."
In a strongly worded report, the all-party committee condemned the Government for its "muddled and vacillating" response to the debate about smoking. Its report said: "The exemption for clubs and pubs where food is not served is illogical. It means that workers who are most exposed to second-hand smoke, and therefore most at risk, will not be protected. We have sought from the Government a convincing rationale for this, but have not found one. It defies logic."
Ninety-five MPs, including 64 Labour backbenchers, have signed a parliamentary motion calling for a free vote, while 89 MPs, including 53 Labour, have signed up to a motion supporting a complete ban.
The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, also revealed that he threatened to resign after his advice on the issue was ignored.
Mr Barron declared that it would be "very difficult" for MPs to back a partial ban, given the strong evidence in favour of a total prohibition on smoking in public places.
He said: "The Government is missing out on a golden opportunity to dramatically improve the public health of this country. The current proposals fly in the face of medical opinion and will do nothing to protect those most at risk.
"Only a total ban will protect the public from the lethal effects of passive smoking and ensure that people can work in an environment which is not dangerous to their health."
The report contrasted the experience of Britain with that in Ireland, where a full smoking ban has been brought into force. It warned: "Political support for a smoking ban in the Republic of Ireland is in stark contrast to the approach of the UK Government, which has been muddled and vacillating.
"Policy towards the control of smoking in public places and workplaces has been a litany of good intentions undermined by faint-heartedness."
The Conservative MP Anne Milton said: "This is the worst possible solution to this. It would almost be better to do nothing. Nobody, absolutely nobody, wants the partial ban."
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...