Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, I think that a few words were omitted there: "could be relied on to give the answer I want".

Lord Warner: My Lords, if that is in the Chief Medical Officer's letter, I would be glad to see it.

Amendment No. 1, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Russell-Johnston, paves the way for the new clause in Amendment No. 2, which allows premises that serve food to continue to allow smoking if certain conditions are fulfilled. The scope of the new clause is wide. It would allow smoking not only in pubs that serve food, but also in cafes and restaurants, and even in schools, hospitals and offices that have canteens. In fact, absolutely anywhere that served any food would be exempted provided that it met the specified conditions. I find it hard to believe that the noble Lords who tabled the amendment really intend to exempt all the office blocks with a canteen, yet that might be the effect. Despite explaining that unintended consequence during Grand Committee, the amendment has been retabled unchanged.

As far as the Government are concerned, allowing smoking in premises that serve food has never been an option. It was not put forward in the Labour Party's manifesto and it was not offered as an option in the free vote at Report stage in the other place. I recognise that the noble Lord has tried to put in place certain safeguards in his new clause. However, as I said during Grand Committee, I am not at all persuaded that those will really provide protection for workers or the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. For example, the amendment provides no clarity on what is meant by,
 
19 Jun 2006 : Column 538
 

Does the noble Lord propose that some kind of wall should separate those areas? Should there be closing doors between them?

There is very clear evidence, as a number of noble Lords have said, that ventilation does not provide a solution to eliminating the health risks associated with second-hand smoke. Based on evidence, the Government do not recognise that ventilation in any form provides a solution to the health risks associated with second-hand smoke. Noble Lords cited the often quoted research conducted at the European Commission Joint Research Centre's INDOORTRON facility, which found that,

I recognise that a number of us like alfresco eating, but I suggest that most people would not choose to have their food in a wind tunnel.

Research that further demonstrates the lack of efficacy of ventilation was published in January 2003 by the Health and Safety Authority and the Office of Tobacco Control in the Republic of Ireland. It states:

Furthermore, any requirement for ventilation would be significantly costly—a point eloquently made by the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege—and, given the lack of effectiveness, it would be a burden for business that simply could not be justified.

The new clause proposes that,

My noble friend Lord Faulkner made a good point about that, although a number of noble Lords contested it. I ask the House to consider whether it is really practical and whether it would be fair to ask employees to make that choice if, for example, they felt that their job would be at risk if they refused. Indeed, taking the scenario further, what would happen in a premises serving food where no member of staff was prepared to expose himself to harmful second-hand smoke? Would the dirty plates stack up? Would members of staff be coerced into working in the smoking area? I do not believe that this provision is practical. As I set out, I believe that this amendment would create more problems than it would solve, and it has absolutely no support from the Government.

Lord Russell-Johnston: My Lords, this has been a long debate. I believe that 18 or 19 noble Lords have participated, so I do not think that it would be a good idea for me to go through each speech. I shall make four simple points. The first is about passive smoking. I shall not make a long speech, because the two sides of the argument have been well set out. It is worth noting that over the past couple of months a number
 
19 Jun 2006 : Column 539
 
of responsible newspapers have published substantial articles querying the arguments about the extent of the danger from passive smoking, which have not been effectively rebutted. In assessing risk, the Economic Affairs Select Committee was surely right to state that the size of the risk does not seem to be very great and that therefore the reaction of the Government does not seem to be proportionate. That was all that it said. It did not suggest that the basis of the argument was ill founded; it simply said that statistically the evaluation of risk was limited.

I find it extraordinary to be told that ventilation is hopeless and that nothing can be achieved by it. I find that difficult to believe. Although people involved in ventilation may be biased, I receive letters from them saying that that is not the case. As a number of noble Lords have said, techniques are improving all the time.

My amendment is quite limited. It is not very ambitious. As smokers or people who are in favour of choice, we accept the abolition of smoking in public places and on all forms of transport. I am not trying to turn the clock back, but I am trying to have a bit of toleration and less draconian measures. I was horrified when the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, perhaps in a slip of the tongue, said that he would like to employ such a measure in the home as well. Presumably, inspectors will visit homes every day with "smokometers" or whatever.

4.45 pm

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, we are not discussing that issue today. We are discussing this amendment.

Lord Russell-Johnston: My Lords, the Minister dealt with ventilation and separation. It seems common sense to separate two rooms physically. It is perfectly true that the cost might be high, but the opportunity should be there. The noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, has moved on this: perhaps he thought that he would be shot at and so had better shift. He gave a colourful example of a poor, wretched 19 year-old Polish girl—I thought that Poland was famous for producing plumbers—being bullied into going into the smoking room and exposing herself to danger. Of course, it is true that people will break laws. Do not forget that the manager or owner of a restaurant or pub is responsible for not doing what has been described, although in some cases he or she might. But I do not think that the possibility of someone breaking a law is an argument against a law. That does not fit.

Lord Warner: My Lords, does the noble Lord accept the point that I made? As currently drafted, the amendment would provide for virtually anywhere that serves food to be exempt. That is a critical point.

Lord Russell-Johnston: My Lords, I assure the noble Lord that the intention is directed at restaurants and pubs. Neither I nor my noble friend Lord Steel would necessarily claim legal drafting expertise, but I am sure
 
19 Jun 2006 : Column 540
 
that it would be possible to narrow the amendment. Of course, I certainly was not thinking of dividing school canteens into two, although that possibility may exist under certain wording. However, I would think that school canteens come under local authorities. Therefore, this would not apply.

Finally, sometimes individuals choose to do things that perhaps they should not. But we should have the right to choose. This is about freedom and the right to choose one's own lifestyle. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.

4.49 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 70; Not-Contents, 221.


Division No.

Division No. 1>
CONTENTS

Astor, V.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blaker, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Boothroyd, B.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. [Teller]
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cobbold, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
De Mauley, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Erroll, E.
Garel-Jones, L.
Gilbert, L.
Goodlad, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Home, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hylton, L.
Joffe, L.
Jopling, L.
Kalms, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Monson, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Northesk, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Peel, E.
Pendry, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Reay, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Russell-Johnston, L. [Teller]
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Steinberg, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Tebbit, L.
Trimble, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vinson, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Windlesham, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Biffen, L.
Billingham, B.
Borrie, L.
Bowness, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Colwyn, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Cotter, L.
Crawley, B.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Emerton, B.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fearn, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Giddens, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Higgins, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jordan, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kingsmill, B.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laird, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lucas, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Manchester, Bp.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Murphy, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Selborne, E.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thornton, B.
Tonge, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Tyler, L.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Warner, L.
Warnock, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.


Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.


 
19 Jun 2006 : Column 542
 

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page