A bid by a Tory MP to exempt pubs and private members clubs from the smoking ban was defeated today.
David Nuttall (Bury N) attempted to introduce a Bill in the Commons that would give pub landlords the right to choose whether or not to allow people to smoke on their premises.
He said smoking would only be permitted in a separate room fitted with air extraction equipment and dining rooms would have to remain smoke-free.
But the motion to introduce the Public Houses and Private Members' Clubs (Smoking) Bill was defeated by 141 votes to 86, majority 55.
Mr Nuttall, who describes himself as a "devout non-smoker", told the Commons: "I believe in trusting the people. This does mean giving individuals the power and the responsibility to take decisions for themselves.
"Pub landlords are the right people to decide whether allowing a smoking room is the best thing to do for their establishment, so would no doubt choose to take advantage of the freedom that this Bill would give them."
He said that in Bury a number of pubs had closed since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007 and many of the remaining pubs were "struggling to survive".
"This Bill puts into practice the principle of localism," he added. "It transfers power from the state to the citizen, from politicians to people."
But Labour's Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) opposed the Bill and said Mr Nuttall's argument had already been considered by the House when the legislation was debated in 2006.
He said smoking was a "life-threatening habit", adding: "You will never avoid the effect on workers of this type of legislation."
Pointing to Spain, where a smoking ban exempts small bars and restaurants, he said: "The law has not been seen as a success and public dissatisfaction with the exemptions has resulted in the Spanish government proposing to extend the ban to all pubs and restaurants."Reuse content