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Lord Turnberg: My Lords, I have just calculated that 125 more people will die every year in this statistically small segment of the population. One in 10,000 is not a small number when one takes the country as a whole.
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: My Lords, I shall not treat this debate as another Second Reading or Committee stage, but I shall reply very briefly to the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky. Those of us in medicine listen to statistics, and I shall quote David Cohen, who is a professor of health economics. He has developed a model that predicts the effects of eliminating exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in public places in Wales, which has a population of only 3 million. It estimates an annual reduction in deaths from lung cancer and coronary heart disease of 253, with a possible additional reduction of deaths from stroke and respiratory diseases of 153.
Lung cancer is not an orphan cancer. The number of cases involved is not small, and it has one element that other cancers do not have: an appalling prognosis. If any noble Lord has lung cancer, I am sorry to have to tell him that his chances of survival are extremely bad. One of the problems that doctors see with patients who are exposed in the workplace and who have not been exposed at home is that, if they get lung cancer and die young, it is a tragedy for society and for the community.
I was extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, for intervening in the debate on this amendment and saying more eloquently than I can what is on my mind. It would be in the interest of the tobacco industry to persuade pubs and all kinds of other places to become the type of membership club that already abounds in our city centres for young people at night. In them, a membership card comes with going through the door and buying the first drink, which is a little bit more expensive than all the other drinks that come later. One is then a member and has a card, which states on the back what one can and cannot do. The place fulfils all the regulations for being a club, but is not one in historic practice like the clubs with long histories that other noble Lords have alluded to. We saw that happen in Cardiff city centre. People wanted to make a place slightly more elite, and so it became a membership club, but it was a pseudo-membership club. It was a lovely place to go, but it did not fulfil any of the criteria of somewhere like the Garrick. This amendment would mean an enormous loophole in the legislation that would make it unworkable. I cannot support it.
Lord Monson: My Lords, I shall make three extremely brief points in favour of this excellent amendment. First, many small clubs, in particular those in rural areas, have no paid employees. Members
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of the club committee take it in turn to dispense drinks on a voluntary basis. If there are no employees who might be put at some risk, whywith the consent of the membership, of courseshould smoking not be allowed?
Secondly, in those mainly larger clubs that employ staffwho must by definition be agreeable to working among smokersthose employees will be at no greater risk than prison officers, nurses and other staff in residential care homes, and chambermaids and room service waiters in hotels, all of whom will continue to be exposed to other people's smoke with the full approval of the Government as the Bill stands.
Finally, only just over 56 per cent of honourable Members representing English constituencies voted for the banning of smoking in clubs. The majority was inflated by the votes of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs, none of whose constituents have any direct interest in the matter.
Lord Rosser: My Lords, I oppose the amendment. The measure has been presented, in part, as an attack on choice and freedom. I am sorry if my noble friend Lord Pendry considers that it will have an adverse effect on this House's Cigar and Pipe Smokers' Club. It might stop club members smoking, but I think that my noble friend said that it would stop them meeting, which it will not.
In other areas, we do not have choice. We do not have a choice on how fast we can drive on the roads. We do not make our own decisions on the quality of tyres on our cars or on whether we should use seat belts. Perhaps those who argue that this measure is an attack on choice would be opposed to those provisions. We do not have freedom to employ someone and then decide for ourselves the health and safety standards that should apply, if any. We do not have the freedom to pay an employee however little we want. We do not have the freedomI am not sure whether this applies in private clubsto ignore food and hygiene regulations. We do not have the freedom to ignore fire regulations. The reality is that one person's choice, or expression of choice as he or she would see it, leaves another person open to risk or imposition. To argue that the choice or freedom goes in only one direction is a little misleading. That applies to this amendment. Frankly, it is special pleading dressed up in the flag of a very selective choice for some people, when it could potentially be to the serious disadvantage of others.
If one accepts the overwhelming medical evidence and opinionI appreciate that there are Members of your Lordships' House who obviously do notthat exposure to second-hand smoke causes health problems, including premature death, what is the case for denying the protection to those who are employed in the 20,000 licensed members' clubs that we have been told about and for discriminating against them in this way? As has been said, many private clubs have bars that compete with local pubs. Exempting them from this legislation would create unfair competition and would, apparently, not be supported by the pub and hospitality trade.
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It seems that it is a case of where you wish to stand on this issue. Do noble Lords wish to stand on the side of club members who can smoke elsewherein their homes or in the open airor on the side of employees who cannot carry out their work elsewhere and in respect of whom employers owe a duty of care? Yes, it is an issue of choice. The vote will show where Members of your Lordships' House decide to make their stand.
Lord Gilbert: My Lords, I had not intended to engage your Lordships' attention in this debate until I heard three quite extraordinary speeches from the Benches behind me. The first was made by a noble Lord who clearly is a medical expert. I would not dream of challenging his medical views one iota; it would be a presumption to do so. However, it seemed to me that the noble Lord displayed, at the same time as great medical knowledge, a rather limited acquaintance with the way in which British society runs. He said that we did not have the right to "impose" our smoke on other people. No one has to join or work in a club; no one has to work here; no one is imposing on anyone at all. The quite extraordinary concept that driving along a motorway is in any way comparable with going into a members' club leaves me speechless. I am only sorry that my noble friend's amendment is less ambitious than I would have loved it to be, but I totally support it.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, it will not surprise your Lordships to know that I oppose this amendment. I hope very much that the House will reject it. I should declare my interest as a trustee of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. As many of your Lordships are aware, Roy Castle was a much loved and popular entertainer who contracted lung cancer from the effects, so he and his widow believed, of working in smoky clubs. He never smoked, but he contracted lung cancer and tragically died of it. When he set up the Lung Cancer Foundation, he was determined that as much as possible should be done not only to treat people who are diagnosed with lung cancer, but also to persuade people that others should not die in the same horrible way as he did.
We are not talking about a small section of the British communitythe private membership clubs. As my noble friend Lord Pendry pointed out, there are something like 20,000 of them. An estimate was given by a Conservative MP on 14 February that the number of employees who work in those clubs is 165,000 or more. That was not denied by the Secretary of State, so we can imagine that it is a realistic figure. Clubs are not run by one or two volunteers in country areas. They are serious places of employment. In many localities, they are run alongside the local pub, wine bar and restaurant.
We must bear two things in mind. First, taking account of the debate that we had on the earlier amendment and the very decisive decision that your
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Lordships took about the risks of second-hand smoke and the undesirability of maintaining smoking in restaurants and pubs, as well as the provision for private areas for smokers, we must ask whether we have a right to say that that law does not apply to private members' clubs. My noble friend Lord Rosser alluded to a number of examples where the law naturally applies to private members' clubs. The House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, for pointing out the excellent work that he did to ensure that our race relations legislation applies equally to private members' clubs. I only regret that the Private Member's Bill that I introduced in your Lordships' House to eliminate sex discrimination in private members' clubs did not get passed in the other place. However, I remind noble Lords that it went through your Lordships' House.
The main issue is whether employees are entitled to protection. The special nature of clubs was the basis of a letter that I received from the secretary of the clubs trade association, which said that they are special places and deserve a special place in British society. Up to a point that may be so. However, is anyone suggesting that if a club is infested with asbestos, the club management can say to the people who work there, "Don't worry about this; you do this at your own risk and we will not allow the normal health and safety legislation to apply to you when we ask you to take it out"? Of course, we would not do that. Given that your Lordships are clearly of the view that second-hand smoke is dangerous, the protection of workers in clubs is also important.
My noble friend Lord Pendry referred to the Labour Party election manifesto. At the end of last week, he was kind enough to write to us on these Benches drawing our attention to that. I suspect that some of my colleagues were a little surprised to discover on reading Friday's Guardian that the organisation and circulation of that letter had been funded by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, which is not a body one normally associates with Labour Party policy. But, if we put that to one side for a moment, the party manifesto needs to be addressed. The noble Lord, Lord Pendry, was right to refer to it.
The House must take account of what the Government did once they had been re-elected and once they had decided to embark on legislation on smoking and health. They had already given a commitment that they would consult on these provisions, and they consulted over the course of last summer. This test of public opinion, I would stress to your Lordships, is crucial. Fifty-seven thousand people responded to that consultation. According to the Department of Health, the vast majority of themfour-fifthscalled for the proposed policy in the Labour Party manifesto to be changed to a complete ban on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces. The Department of Health added that the vast majority of those responding believed that, as membership clubs are workplaces, there should be no exemptions.
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