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Mr. Lansley: I am not aware of any way of securing additional protection for such workers using the votes available to us this afternoon. The way in which the votes are structured will either impose a smoking ban in those premises or not. Conditions could be applied in regulations, to make distinctions about where smoking would be permitted within premises. For example, the recommendation in the Beer and Pub Association's code about smoking at the bar could be incorporated into regulations relating to clubs.
Mr. Humfrey Malins (Woking) (Con):
I understand the thinking behind a smoking ban in clubs where children are present, but does my hon. Friend realise that most sports clubs are private members' clubsrugby clubs, golf clubs and football clubs, for exampleand that they now have a junior membership? Does the amendment that my hon. Friend is discussing envisage a ban in all such clubs?
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My colleagues and I have tabled amendment (i), the purpose of which is to provide that smoking should not be allowed in certain places to which children have access. It would also have the benefit of offsetting any market distortion between pubs and clubs that might otherwise result. Pubs that are non-smoking and open to the public would also offer a smoke-free environment for families and children. Clubs would have to choose whether to accommodate children or smoking, as my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) must understand if he chooses to vote for the amendment.
Let me turn to the voting. I will support the motion that new clause 5 be read a second time. The new clause will have the beneficial effect of getting rid of the Government's discredited partial ban. I will then vote against amendment (a), tabled in the name of the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Don Valley, so that the exemption for clubs can be maintained. If amendment (a) is defeated, I will thenwith your permission, Mr. Deputy Speakerseek to press amendment (i) to a vote, so as to prevent children from being exposed to second-hand smoke in clubs. I hope that amendment No. 6 will be pressed to a vote by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope). If so, I will support it, to ensure that the ban in clause 5 of the Bill could not be extended to private vehicles not being offered for hire.
The voting might be complex, but the principles involved are pretty straightforward. We must reduce smoking and the exposure to second-hand smoke. We should not permit people's liberty to choose whether to smoke to extend to a licence to cause harm to others, but we cannot allow legislation to intrude into the choices that people make in their private space. I hope that these explanations have been of some assistance to hon. Members across the House.
Stephen Pound (Ealing, North) (Lab): I admire greatly the work that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has done on these matters. It is important, as we approach the last gasp of the process, to reiterate her earlier point that, if much of the proposed legislationparticularly the provisions on infection control and pharmaceutical servicesis non-contentious, that is because it has been thoroughly worked on in Committee and comes to the House in a state of such purity that the majority of us will be only too keen to support it.
Well, the imminently right hon. Member, then. I associate myself with his congratulations on the extraordinary fecundity of those on the Conservative Benches. If Conservative Members keep producing children at this rate, I will be seriously worried
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that the Labour Government could be threatened in about 18 years. For the moment, however, I think that congratulations, and possibly a cigar, to the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) would be entirely appropriate.
We have the unaccustomed and rather intoxicating luxury of a free vote on this subject. A number of my colleagues are already asking how the Whips want them to vote on the free vote, but for once we are able to make a decision without any of the normal party-political baggage. It does credit to right hon. and hon. Members that much of the discussion that has taken place has been non-partisan, and I genuinely believe that we are trying to do what is best.
Let us start from the assumption, revolutionary though it may seem, that tobacco is not actually good for one, and that were it to be discovered today it would be a dangerous drug and we would not have a great deal to do with it. The temptation to take the simplistic approach, however, seems to have gone to the heads of a number of right hon. and hon. Members.
I would suggest that it is not possible to uninvent something. We must look at the sheer practicalities. It is entirely understandable that we wish to stand as sea-green incorruptibles on a snow-capped peak and say "There shall be no tobacco: let a thousand children breathe uncluttered air"unless, of course, they happen to live in a city or a village or a town, or anywhere where there is a motor car, or anywhere where there is any ancillary industry. But will new clause 5 and the amendments tabled by the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint), achieve that?
We have the chance to benefit from some empirical evidence. Purely for the purpose of my parliamentary duties, I was in Dublin the week before last. As dusk settled over that wondrous city, I took the opportunity to wander the streets in search of licensed premisesin an investigative role. I had been told that Ireland was the exemplar of the new legislation, as it is an exemplar in so many ways. This was the place where the smoking ban had been imposed, and by heaven, the proud Celts had stepped back and said "That's it: no more cigarettes."
What a vision I observed in Temple Bar! What an extraordinary sight greeted me when, with a number of my parliamentary colleagues and several Members of the Dail, I visited a number of pubs to find that all fell into one or other of two categories. In one category, the entire perimeter area was covered with patio heaters and armchairs, so that anyone who wanted to go into the admittedly smoke-free pub had to fight his way through a tangible fug of nicotine-soaked air to get into the damn place to start with, which made something of a nonsense of the arrangement. If it was not possible to find a pub ringed with patio heatersthere may be some hon. Members, possibly on the Conservative Benches, who are not entirely averse to making a profit from time to time, and I say to them "Buy patio heater shares now"there were other pubs which, to my amazement, had somehow managed to fit a false ceiling and to claim that part of the pub was no longer part of the integral structure. It was possible to stand where my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Patrick Hall) is sitting now and smoke away to one's heart's content beneath a false
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ceiling, while my right hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) would be on the other side thinking that he was in a smoke-free pub.
Having listened to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire, I consider it a miracle that any of us have survived, given his talk of an apocalyptic Armageddon of nicotine poisoning that is somehow threatening to decimate the nation.
Every morning I used to rise and have a reflective cigarette; then I would have breakfast and a cigarette; then I would say my prayers, but remember what my good Jesuit confessor said: "You should never ever smoke while you are praying, but you can pray while you are smoking." I would then get on a bus and leap like a lithe gazelle to the upper deck, where I would have a couple of Players Weights before jumping off. By the time I got to primary school, I could, as ashtray monitor, go to the staff room and pick up a few dog-ends.
Lynne Jones: No doubt my hon. Friend will regard me as something of a spoilsport when I point out the following to him. Last Friday, my parliamentary assistant went to the Bill Office to try to table amendments that would have banned smoking in the outside spaces of establishments where people are served food and drink and in outside spaces where people are required to gather to use public transport or as spectators for sporting or cultural events. She was told by the Clerk that the measures I wanted to include in the Bill are in fact already included under clause 2. It refers to
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