'(1) The appropriate national authority may make regulations providing for specified descriptions of premises, or specified areas within specified descriptions of premises, not to be smoke-free despite section 2.
(2) Descriptions of premises which may be specified under subsection (1) include, in particular—
(a) any premises where a person has his home, or is living whether permanently or temporarily (including hotels, care homes, and prisons and other places where a person may be detained),
(b) except as mentioned in subsection (5), any premises in respect of which a club premises certificate (within the meaning of section 60 of the Licensing Act 2003 (c. 17)) has effect.
(3) The power to make regulations under subsection (1) is not exercisable so as to specify any description of premises in respect of which a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003 (c. 17) authorising the consumption of alcohol on the premises has effect.
(4) But subsection (3) does not prevent the exercise of that power so as to specify any area, within a specified description of premises mentioned in subsection (3), where a person has his home, or is living whether permanently or temporarily.
(5) If both a club premises certificate and a premises licence authorising the consumption of alcohol on the premises have effect in respect of any premises, those premises are to be treated for the purposes of this section as if only the premises licence had effect in respect of them.
(6) The regulations may provide, in relation to any description of premises or areas of premises specified in the regulations, that the premises or areas are not smoke-free—
(a) in specified circumstances,
(b) if specified conditions are satisfied, or
(c) at specified times,
or any combination of those.
(7) The conditions may include conditions requiring the designation in accordance with the regulations, by the person in charge of the premises, of any rooms in which smoking is to be permitted.'.—[Ms Hewitt.]
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment (a), in line 9, leave out paragraph (b).
Amendment (j), in line 11, at end insert—
'(c) premises of specialist tobacconists, as defined in section 6 of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (c. 36).'.
Amendment (b), in line 13, after first 'of' insert '(a)'.
Amendment (c), in line 15, at end insert—
'(b) premises in respect of which a club premises certificate (within the meaning of section 60 of that Act) has effect.'.
Amendment (d), in line 19, leave out subsection (5).
Amendment (i), in line 29, at end insert—
'( ) Regulations made under subsection (1) shall not provide for premises or areas of premises in respect of which a club premises certificate has effect if they are premises or areas of premises open to the public to which children have access.'.
Amendment (g), in line 30, after second 'conditions', insert '(a)'.
Amendment (h), in line 32, at end add—
'(b) requiring the physical segregation of rooms where smoking is permitted from those where it is not;
(c) stipulating what food or drink may be consumed in any rooms where smoking is permitted; and
(d) requiring all staff who enter such rooms to do so only on a voluntary basis.'.
Amendment No. 8, in page 1, line 1, leave out clauses 1 to 12.
Government amendments Nos. 18 and 19.
Amendment No. 36, in page 2, line 31 [Clause 3], leave out subsections (1) to (4) and insert—
'( ) Despite section 2, the following descriptions of premises, may not be smoke-free—
(a) premises where a person has his home, or is living whether permanently or temporarily;
(b) licensed premises;
(c) premises in respect of which a club premises certificate is in force.'.
Amendment No. 10, in page 2, line 33 [Clause 3], at end insert—
'(1A) The regulations may provide for local authorities to licence designated rooms in which smoking is to be permitted under appropriate conditions.'.
Amendment No. 5, in page 2, line 37 [Clause 3], leave out from 'hotels' to end of line 38 and insert
'and care homes, but not including prisons)'.
Amendment No. 27, in page 2, line 38 [Clause 3], at end insert—
'( ) premises in respect of which there are designated areas in which smoking is to be permitted.'.
Amendment No. 6, in page 4, line 3 [Clause 5], at end insert—
'(c) any private motor vehicle not available for hire or reward.
(d) any occupant of a private motor vehicle not available for hire or reward.'.
Government amendments Nos. 20 and 24.
Government motion, That clause 8 be transferred to end of line 38 on page 6.
Government amendment No. 21
I am sure that, before we begin the debate, the whole House will join me in congratulating Mr. Cameron on the birth of his third baby. We all wish him well, both as a parent and, of course, in his efforts to give up smoking.
The Bill will ban smoking in virtually every enclosed public place and workplace in England. As the director of Action on Smoking and Health said:
"This Bill will be a big step forwards for public health. If passed into law, it will save thousands of lives every year, as vulnerable people are no longer exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke at work, and as thousands of smokers are encouraged to cut down or quit altogether."
The medical evidence is absolutely clear—smoking is the principal avoidable cause of premature death. Almost 85,000 people die every year from lung cancer, respiratory illnesses and heart disease. We have acted to deal with that scourge. We have already banned tobacco advertising, strengthened health warnings on cigarette packets and introduced NHS stop-smoking programmes, which in 2004–05 alone have helped nearly 300,000 people to give up smoking.
Yesterday, the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend Caroline Flint, launched our latest anti-smoking television and radio campaign. Now, with this Bill, we will ensure that from the summer of next year—18 months earlier than we originally proposed—smoke-free workplaces and public places will become the norm. Over time, we estimate that an additional 600,000 people will give up smoking as a result of this law and that millions more will be protected from second-hand smoke.
The public health case to make all workplaces smoke-free is very well established. Leaving aside the fact that many already are smoke-free, would it not boost the credibility of the House if the standards that we seek to impose on others were applied to ourselves?
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Of course, that is a matter for the House authorities, rather than for the Government, but I believe that I am right in saying that several of the bars in the Palace of Westminster have already decided to go smoke-free, and I hope that others will follow. However, as I say, that is a matter for the House, not for me as a Minister.
I hope to refer later to licensed smoking areas. We effectively have a licensed smoking area in the Committee Corridor. Should we not be doing something similar nationwide?
As I have already indicated, the arrangements that we make in the Palace of Westminster are matters for the House, not for the Government, nor for the Bill.
I do indeed share my hon. Friend's surprise at that. All Labour Members believe that it is right to legislate to ban smoking in the vast majority of workplaces and public places, and I welcome the fact that at least some—perhaps many—Opposition Members now agree with us. However, there are different views inside and outside the House on exactly how far smoke-free legislation should extend and on where the balance should be struck between protecting people from harm and protecting people's freedom of choice.
My right hon. Friend is right to say that a balance must be struck, but does she agree that the most important thing is to protect all workers in bars, whether food is served in them or not, and to protect the whole public, whether they are smokers or not? Therefore, we should give people the opportunity to be able to eat and drink in a non-smoky atmosphere. Those who wish to smoke can always do so outside.
My hon. Friend makes a very important point. I shall come to those precise issues in just a moment.
As I was saying, there are different views on exactly where the balance should be struck. I am particularly grateful to the Select Committee on Health, led so capably by my right hon. Friend Mr. Barron, which has made a very important contribution to the debate. The Government have therefore introduced amendments to the Bill to enable the House to express its view on exactly how the balance should be struck.
Can the Secretary of State explain the difference between a worker in a normal place of employment, a worker who goes to carry out a job in a private home where there are smokers, and a worker who goes into a club to carry out a job?
I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is saying that there should be a smoking ban in people's own homes or whether he is saying that there should not be a smoking ban at all. No doubt, he will make his views clear in the debate. However, his question reflects the confusion that we know exists among Conservative Members.
New clause 5 replaces the existing clause 3 of the Bill.
Let me make a little progress before I give way again.
The new clause provides a general power to make exemptions from the smoking ban. This is necessary to exempt from the ban people's own homes and places that are, in effect, someone's home, at least temporarily—in other words, long-term adult residential care homes, hospitals and mental health hospitals for adults, prisons and hotel bedrooms. We are taking the power to make the limited exemptions not only because we believe that it is right in principle, but to fulfil our obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 on respect for private life.
If it is wrong for prisoners to be able to drink alcohol in prison, why is it right under the Government's legislation for them to be able to smoke?
We believe that it is right for prisoners, who quite properly have no choice about where they live, to be able to exercise choice in the matter of smoking within appropriate restrictions. My Department and the Home Office are discussing with the prison authorities precisely the nature of the limited exemption that should apply in prisons.
I note that the manifesto policy of the Liberal party is for a total ban. That is not, of course, the policy of most of the contenders for the leadership of the hon. Gentleman's party. I do not believe, and nor do Labour Members, that it would be right to legislate to ban people from smoking in their own homes.
No, it would not. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point but, as I shall explain in a moment, new clause 5 provides only quite limited powers to make exceptions to the general ban on smoking in enclosed public places that we have introduced in the Bill.
Just so we are absolutely clear about what the Secretary of State is now proposing, as opposed to what she outlined on Second Reading, will she confirm that new clause 5 would not only prevent the designation of smoking rooms—although the original proposals would have allowed that, and she said on Second Reading that the Government would consult on the matter—but not permit pubs that did not serve prepared food along with drink to be exempt? Is it not the case that as distinct from when she gave evidence to the Health Committee, she has expressly moved away from the manifesto position that she extolled on Second Reading?
As I shall explain, new clause 5 is expressly designed to include under the smoking ban all pubs and licensed premises, including those that do not serve food. The details of the limited range of exemptions for long-term residential homes, hospices, mental health hospitals for adults and so on will be consulted on and set out in regulations. All such regulations will be subject to the affirmative procedure.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend and neighbour for giving way. Would she consider it unjust, or merely ironic, if the 120 or so Members who have been returned from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were to vote for the weaker framework to protect our employees in pubs and clubs in England and thus impose on the 520 or so English Members weaker protection in every sense? Surely that would be not only ironic, but unjust.
My hon. Friend makes his point and I am sure that he will develop it during the course of the debate.
I will make a little more progress before I take further interventions.
We have begun to explore two controversial issues. There is the question of whether all pubs and licensed premises should be covered by the smoking ban, or whether, as we originally proposed, those that do not serve food should be exempt. Unlike clause 3, new clause 5 would not allow any exemption to be made for licensed premises. In other words, all pubs, bars, discos and night clubs, including those that do not serve food, would be entirely smoke-free. It is right to have a complete ban on smoking in public places, including all licensed premises, so I hope that my hon. Friends and other hon. Members will join me in voting for new clause 5.
I said on Second Reading that I was delighted to be bringing forward a Bill that is an enormous step forward for public health, regardless of the question of non-food-serving pubs. As I indicated, the issue is how we strike the right balance between protecting people from harm on the one hand and protecting people's freedom of choice on the other. One such balance is reflected in clause 3, but I and many of my hon. Friends believe that it would be better to achieve the balance of imposing a smoking ban on all licensed premises, regardless of whether they serve food.
Will the Secretary of State confirm that a mass murderer in prison will be able to exercise his right to have a cigarette, even though prison staff will inhale his smoke, yet law-abiding people who go into pubs will not be able to do so?
As I have already indicated, we are working with the Home Office on the precise nature of the limited exemption that should be permitted for prisoners. The regulations on prisons and other matters will come before the House. If the hon. Gentleman takes the view—[Interruption.]
"The appropriate national authority may make regulations"
to provide for exemptions. Theoretically, if the Bill is enacted and comes into force before the national authority makes those regulations the absurd prospect arises that it would be illegal to smoke in one's own home. Can the Secretary of State assure us that she will make sure that those regulations are made in time to prevent that anomaly from arising?
Yes. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his courteous remarks.
The second issue on which there are genuine differences of opinion both inside and outside the House is that of private membership clubs. Government new clause 5 would exempt genuine private membership clubs from the ban. To allow hon. Members to express their views on that issue separately from the question of licensed premises generally my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has tabled amendments (a) and (b) to (d) to the new clause. Those amendments, taken together, would not allow any exemption to be made for private clubs—in other words, the smoking ban would extend to them as well. By "membership clubs" we mean only the qualifying clubs operating with a club premises certificate under the specific rules of the Licensing Act 2003, including the stipulation that the club is not open to the general public and that it is run on a not-for-profit basis.
The Secretary of State pointed out that for procedural reasons her ministerial colleague has tabled amendments to the new clause. She will have talked to her colleagues about their intentions this evening so, lest the House is confused and thinks that there is division between Ministers, can she confirm that all the Ministers in her Department will vote in the same way on these issues?
I strongly advise the hon. Gentleman to talk to the candidates for the leadership of his own party. Simon Hughes said:
"Personally, I won't be voting for the smoking ban."
Sir Menzies Campbell said that it is entirely sensible to make some places available for people to smoke in. However, he also thought that we should not necessarily extend the ban to private clubs. Mr. Oaten, when he was a candidate for the leadership, said:
"A lot of my colleagues would support a ban on smoking"—
indeed, his manifesto said so—
"but as a liberal I'm uncomfortable with that".
It appears to be only Chris Huhne among the Liberal leadership candidates who supports his party manifesto on the subject.
Would my right hon. Friend clarify the question of private membership clubs? If, in fact, they are exempt under the Bill, would it be possible for such a club to have a small bar on the premises, where drink would be allowed and smoking would be permitted?
My hon. Friend makes an important point and I will come to it in a moment.
There are about 18,500 registered membership clubs in England, representing a wide range of interests. There are working men's clubs, political clubs, military and sporting clubs and so on. I believe that the arguments on membership clubs are very finely balanced. On the one hand, there is a case for making even more places smoke-free and establishing a level playing field for pubs, licensed premises and membership clubs. On the other, there is the case, strongly put to me by many of my own constituents, that a genuinely private membership club that is not for profit and is effectively owned and run by the members themselves should be treated in the same way as people's own homes, where people decide for themselves. I believe that that is a very strong argument, but I will listen to the debate extremely carefully, and on this point in particular.
Is it the case that there are no fewer than 165,000 workers who work in the private members' clubs that would be exempted under new clause 5?
Let me make it clear that if Parliament should decide to exempt private members' clubs, the regulations that follow—which will be subject, as I said, to the affirmative resolution procedure—will require members to have an annual vote on the smoking issue, and in order to fulfil our manifesto commitment to protect employees even in those exempt premises, smoking will be banned in the bar. Furthermore, we will review those and other provisions of the new law within three years.
As my right hon. Friend knows, I have added my name to her new clause 5. However, I am a little concerned about what she has just said. I heard her say the same thing on the radio this morning. When she says that smoking will permitted in the bar, does she mean any room with a bar or just the main bar of the club? Will she clarify that?
What I have just said to the House, and what I said this morning, is that even if membership clubs are exempt following the vote in the House and the final decision of Parliament on that point, in the regulations we will ensure that smoking cannot take place in the bar itself. We will want to consult widely on the precise details of the regulations, and those will come to Parliament through the affirmative resolution procedure.
Is this not a simple health and safety issue? Passive smoking kills. Full stop. It does not matter whether it takes place in private members clubs or in public bars. Is that not the case?
My hon. Friend is right. It is also the case that about 95 per cent. of the deaths that result from passive smoking occur as a result of passive smoking in people's homes, not in public places or in membership clubs.
Further to the points raised by my hon. Friend Mr. Devine and Andrew Selous about workers in private clubs, can my right hon. Friend confirm that all workplace health and safety legislation will still apply in private clubs, that workers compensation legislation will still apply in private clubs, and that all those requirements will be the responsibility of the private club, regardless of what happens in the House today?
Of course. Health and safety legislation is not affected by the Bill.
I intend to vote for private clubs to have the freedom proposed. Does the right hon. Lady intend to do the same?
As I have already said, I think that the arguments are extremely finely balanced. In the spirit of the free vote that we on the Government Benches will have, I intend to listen to the debate very carefully.
If both the amendments and the new clause are passed, the smoking ban will cover all public places and workplaces, including all licensed premises and private membership clubs. Only a few specific exemptions will be made, mainly for places that are essentially a person's home or personal space. If the amendments fall but the new clause is passed unamended, the smoking ban will cover all public places and workplaces, including licensed premises, but not genuine private members' clubs. If the new clause falls, the smoke-free provisions that are set out in the current draft of the Bill will remain—in other words, in that situation we will introduce regulations to exempt both membership clubs and licensed premises that do not prepare and serve food.
I stress that in order to fulfil the promises that we made to the public in our manifesto, the Government are not prepared to accept any smoke-free provisions that are less comprehensive than those set out in the Bill when it was first published. I wish that there was similar clarity on the Conservative Benches, where Mr. Lansley, who speaks on health, said 10 months ago that he favoured self-regulation and opposed a ban, but has I think now decided that he supports a ban—no doubt he will tell us—while the leader of the Conservative party continues to say that he opposes a ban, unless, of course, the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire is going to tell us that there has been a further flip-flop since this morning.
Whatever the outcome of the votes on these two specific issues, this Bill marks a huge step forward for public health. It will make smoke-free the norm. It will protect non-smokers from passive smoking, make it easier for smokers to give up and save thousands of people's lives. I look forward to a fruitful debate and to hon. Members making their views known on exactly how far the smoke-free legislation should extend. I commend new clause 5 to the House.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I rise just for clarification, which we did not get from the Secretary of State. She has just commended new clause 5 to the House. There is, of course, a rule in the House that the voice and the vote must go together, so do we infer from that that she will indeed vote for new clause 5?
I am sure that the Secretary of State has added very little to the clarity, so let us see where we get to.
I should like to give the Secretary of State our thanks for the kind remarks that she directed to my right hon. Friend Mr. Cameron and to Samantha. Opposition Members are delighted at the safe arrival of a baby boy for Samantha and David at St. Mary's, Paddington, this morning. If I may, I shall trespass a moment and also express our good wishes to the family of my hon. Friend Adam Afriyie and their baby boy; to my hon. Friend Mr. Hands, who has a baby girl; and, in expectation, to my hon. Friend David T.C. Davies. Opposition Members are doing our bit to defuse the demographic time bomb.
They are all in labour wards.
Better than the Labour party.
I am sure that the House is pleased to see the Secretary of State here after her indisposition last week, although I think that she might have preferred to be diplomatically ill today. As I said on Second Reading, I believe that the Bill can contribute to a significant reduction in smoking. On Second Reading, the House resolved to achieve that reduction by means of a legislative ban. We did indeed debate on Second Reading and in Committee the question of whether it could be achieved on a self-regulatory basis. Of course, there is evidence of a significant increase in the number of smoke-free places that are being established without legislation being enforced, but the issue before us today is in practice not whether we should have a ban, but what its extent should be.
Let me be clear: smoking kills and it remains the largest cause of avoidable deaths in this country, and that mortality includes several thousand people each year who we believe die as a consequence of exposure to second-hand smoke. The greatest element of that problem is exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, to which the Secretary of State referred. The figures were clearly set out in November 2004 in the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health report: there is a 24 per cent. increase in the risk of developing lung cancer for non-smoking women whose partners are smoking men; there is a 37 per cent. increase in the risk of developing lung cancer for non-smoking men whose partners are smoking women; and there is a 19 per cent. increase in the risk of developing lung cancer for those who are exposed to passive smoke in the workplace.
The risk of lung cancer is well understood; the risk of cardiovascular disease is less well understood, but arguably much more significant. The risk of developing lung cancer increases in direct proportion to the number of cigarettes smoked and the duration of smoking. Damage to the heart and arteries, however, seems to occur disproportionately at lower exposures, such as those experienced through exposure to second-hand smoke. Although passive smokers may have an uptake of tobacco smoke equivalent to only about 1 per cent. of that of an active smoker, the risk of their developing heart disease increases by 25 per cent.
Last year, a study in the British Medical Journal estimated on that basis that more than three times as many people die from ischemic heart disease as a result of passive smoking as die from lung cancer. Evidence produced in the past four or five years suggests that small amounts of exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to substantial increases in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Will the hon. Gentleman remind the House what that article said about the number of people who die each year because of passive smoking in the workplace—can he remember?
The BMJ report refers to some 1,500 people dying from passive smoking as a result of the increased risk of lung cancer, some 5,500 people dying from passive smoking as a result of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and about 4,000 people dying from the increased risk of stroke—interestingly, the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health did not find on the evidence that there is an established relationship between exposure to second-hand smoke and an increased risk of stroke.
Perhaps I can remind the hon. Gentleman that it has been estimated that more than 600 people a year die from inhaling second-hand smoke in the workplace, which is significant given that only 130 people a year die from asbestosis.
I recall the figure to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, although I think that it appeared in a different BMJ study. I do not dispute that a significant number of deaths have been and continue to be associated with exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace, which is one of the reasons why we have always supported protection in the workplace. As we set out in our manifesto, the objectives of policy should be to reduce the incidence of smoking, to ensure that non-smokers are not exposed to smoke unless they want to be, to protect workers in the workplace and to ensure that children are not exposed to second-hand smoke. We set out that position in our manifesto; I said it again on Second Reading and I have not departed from it. We are debating how those objectives will be achieved and the balances to be struck, which I shall discuss in a moment.
As shadow Secretary of State for Health, I must say—not least to my hon. Friends—that it is imperative on health grounds to stop unwanted exposure to second-hand smoke and potentially reduce the prevalence of smoking, especially among young people whose smoking habits tend to become entrenched in the workplace. The Secretary of State accepted that point when she introduced the Bill at the end of last year, but she then made a perverse and bogus distinction between pubs that serve food and those that do not. On Second Reading, we asked her to explain the health grounds for making such a distinction, but she offered no evidence on that point. However, given the effect of that on health inequalities, which was subsequently exposed in great detail by the Select Committee on Health, we knew that it was wrong when it was presented. I think that most Labour Members knew that it was wrong and, frankly, that the Secretary of State knew that it was wrong, but she would not admit it. Her acquiescence in the Airdrie and Shotts provisions was a failure on her part. She is condemned by the fact that she would not stand by her own instincts and, as Secretary of State for Health, by the views and recommendations of the chief medical officer.
We now have the utter humiliation of the Secretary of State voting against her own legislation. Never before has a Government Minister brought forward a measure and voted against it in this way.
The hon. Gentleman spoke strongly in support of the importance of the views of the chief medical officer. What are his views on private clubs?
I shall come to that in a moment. [Interruption.] Well, I will do better than the Secretary of State, because I will tell the House how I am going to vote. A few minutes ago, she appeared to extol the fact that she is giving a free vote to Labour Members—or her Whips are. We gave a free vote on Second Reading. The Liberal Democrats did not, but have been persuaded to do so by the changes that we have brought about. I recall that on Second Reading Labour Members endorsed our view that this matter should be governed by a free vote because of the contrary views and evidence that needed to be listened to.
The Secretary of State would not listen, and now she has had to learn. Curiously, however, we do not know quite how far she has gone. In new clause 5, she has abandoned the prospect of an exemption for non-food pubs. Whereas previously she was prepared to consult on whether there should be smoking rooms in licensed premises, she now seems to have concluded that there cannot be such a consultation and must not be such smoking rooms. I did not hear her express a view on the remaining central question relating to clubs. Presumably we can have a debate about that, and in two and a half hours we will all be very excited to see whether she is for or against it. On Second Reading, she said:
"It is . . . right to exempt membership clubs".
She said of members of the public:
"They clearly view membership clubs as private clubs run by members for members. Such clubs have always been treated differently from other licensed premises because they are non-profit-making organisations."—[Hansard, 29 November 2005; Vol. 440, c. 156.]
That was the Secretary of State's advice on Second Reading, but given the handbrake turn that we have seen since then, what point is there in taking her advice? Even her own junior Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Health, Caroline Flint, is not going to do so—or perhaps it is vice versa; we simply do not know.
If the Secretary of State has a point of principle to deploy in relation to non-profit-making private clubs, does my hon. Friend understand what it is?
I make a distinction between licensed premises and private members' clubs—
Does my hon. Friend accept that the scope of amendment (a) is unprecedented and that if passed it would result in a massive shift of public policy? Does he agree that since 1863, when Sir George Grey was Home Secretary, this House has taken the view that the rules in force in private members' clubs should be matters for them, not us?
As it happens, I did not know that it had been true since 1863, but I take advice from my right hon. Friend, who might like to expand on that point.
My point is that as shadow Secretary of State for Health, I will say that I am trying to secure as successfully as we can a reduction of smoking and the incidence of people being exposed to second-hand smoke, consistent with the principle that we should not interfere with people's private space.
I want to make some progress, and then I will give way by all means.
It is now up to Members to make up their minds. In my view, we are considering not the nuisance value but the health effects of second-hand smoke. Those health effects demand that non-smokers should not be exposed to second-hand smoke. However, we must balance that objective with the principle that we should not interfere disproportionately in people's right to choose how to behave in their homes or private space. That distinction between public and private space is vital.
I do not accept that and I shall explain why. Freedom to choose whether to smoke in one's private space must be respected. That liberty does not extend to exposing other people to harm in a public place. On that basis, exemptions to the requirement for premises to be smoke-free should include private homes and private vehicles, as amendment No. 6 proposes—I hope that we shall have an opportunity to press that to a Division. Places that are one's home on a temporary basis and private members' clubs should be exempt.
I understand the case about employees but, as was said from the Liberal Democrat Benches, I do not believe that we could or should require people not to smoke in their homes when staff or employees are present. I therefore do not support the argument that private homes or private members' clubs should be smoke-free on the ground of the presence of employees.
The intellectual basis for the hon. Gentleman's justification of a ban in a public space but not in a private club is choice in private space. Does he wear a seat belt in his car?
Yes, I do because I obey the law. Parliament took a view, as it will this afternoon, and that is acceptable. However, Parliament must take a view on the basis of principle. I believe that we should adhere to the principle that private members' clubs constitute private space and we should respect that.
I do not dispute that clubs will have to be subject to regulations. That might require mitigation or a no-smoking-at-the-bar rule, similar to that of the British Beer and Pub Association.
It is open to private clubs to install ventilation equipment. Does my hon. Friend agree that that issue has not been aired yet? [Hon. Members: "Oh dear."] That could be tackled in regulations so that people could work in private clubs without danger to their health.
Yes. That was a timely intervention. If we give clubs an exemption, we should not necessarily exclude them from regulations. Through their desire not to expose themselves to litigation, they will have to consider ventilation. Changes in technology may have an impact on that. I do not believe that it is currently sufficient to rely on ventilation because of the persistence of toxins in the air, but it may be possible in future.
Does the hon. Gentleman recall that the Roy Castle international centre for lung cancer research in Liverpool was founded by Roy Castle's widow, Fiona, because the renowned comedian had died from second-hand smoke through performing in clubs? He had never smoked. Does not that suggest that the ban should extend to clubs?
I have received a letter from Fiona Castle and I fully understand that point. I would prefer clubs to be non-smoking but I hold to the principle that a private club is an extension of people's private space, and, just as I would not try to legislate to intervene directly in what people do in their home, I do not propose to vote for a measure that does that.
We have only three hours. It is a pity that we do not have longer but I must try to conclude and I hope that hon. Members will forgive me for not giving way.
The Government were not willing at any stage, including Committee, to make special provision to protect children from exposure to second-hand smoke. The evidence of the effects in asthma and respiratory conditions suggests that we should offer additional protection. Parents must take responsibility in their own homes, but in clubs we should provide that smoking should not be allowed in areas to which children have access.
Is there a way, under the provisions before us, for someone to vote for a less restrictive position in pubs, as with clubs, while at the same time ensuring some protection for workers in pubs? The Secretary of State seems to believe that there will be protection for workers in clubs.
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.
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' clubs—rugby clubs, golf clubs and football clubs, for example—and that they now have a junior membership? Does the amendment that my hon. Friend is discussing envisage a ban in all such clubs?
No. I do not want to take up any more of hon. Members' time than I have to.
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 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 then—with your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker—seek 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 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.
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 legislation—particularly the provisions on infection control and pharmaceutical services—is 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.
I should like to respond to some of the comments made by the right hon. Member—is he right hon.?—for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley).
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 that the Labour Government could be threatened in about 18 years. For the moment, however, I think that congratulations, and possibly a cigar, to 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 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 premises—in 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 heaters—there 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 Patrick Hall is sitting now and smoke away to one's heart's content beneath a false ceiling, while my right hon. Friend Mr. Barron would be on the other side thinking that he was in a smoke-free pub.
The fact remains that people smoke. Admittedly, we want to stop them smoking.
Hang on a second. I am just getting going. I am a little short of breath, and what little I have I try to make the most of.
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.
On the subject of fag-ends, I will certainly give way to my hon. Friend.
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
"areas which are enclosed or substantially enclosed",
and states that the
"appropriate national authority may specify in regulations what 'enclosed' and 'substantially enclosed' mean."
I very much hope that the Clerk is right and that the regulations will prevent smoking in those spaces, as per my intention.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend, as is, I believe, the whole House. So it is "Goodnight Irene" for the walled city of York. However, it must be said that those of us in the wide open spaces of west London seldom consider ourselves enclosed, and very seldom restrained.
There is a desperately serious point. We are trying to do something about public health, and the group of people about whom we are most worried—young people aged between about 11 and 13 who are taking up this habit—are the very people who do not go to pubs. To a large extent, discussing pubs in the context of stopping smoking is nonsense, because in doing so we are not dealing with the people whom we actually want to address. We must never forget the Oscar Wilde quote:
"As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular."
As long as tobacco smoking is seen as this dreadful, wicked thing that film stars do and there are people in pubs doing it, it will be attractive to children. We must address the issue of role models and public practice. Were I a role model, I would plead guilty in this regard, but fortunately I am not. So this is a very serious issue and the question is how we best deal with it. Frankly, as with so many things, there are three different options.
The first is the pure libertarian view, eloquently expressed by Mr. Duncan in his famous book, which is compulsory bedside reading for many of us, that everything should be allowed. That is a legitimate intellectual argument.
The second option is the counter-argument that everything should be banned. Tobacco is bad for people—ban it. Cars are bad for people—ban them. Alcohol is bad for people—ban the lot. Ban everything, and we will subsist on a milk toast diet of muesli as we shuffle through the empty streets of our city, looking for a little stimulation where we may find it.
Those are both perfectly legitimate intellectual arguments: everything bad is banned; everything bad is allowed. Or, we can opt for—dare I say it?—co-existence and compromise. Instead of concentrating on what divides us, let us concentrate on what unites us. Would it not be possible—
To become a Cameronian?
I am more of a Cameroonian—a fan of Samuel Eto'o.
Why should it not be possible for those of us who wish to do so to go to our Royal British Legion, where the staff are happy and prepared to work, and where the members are happy and prepared to enter, to have our cigarette and our pint? Others prefer the smoke-free sushi bars of—I was going to say Primrose Hill, but my right hon. Friend Frank Dobson is in his place, and I do not wish to embarrass him. Why cannot we have the choice? It would be sensible to step back a little as putative legislators and accept that sometimes simply banning something does not make it disappear.
On the subject of those things that one would not wish to ban, I give way to the hon. Gentleman.
I would say that the hon. Gentleman has my full support, but that would probably be the kiss of death to his argument, and perhaps to his career.
I suggest a middle way—a fourth way, perhaps—that has not been much discussed. Why do we focus on the process of smoking, rather than on the outcome of clean air? Does he agree that we should be willing to entertain the challenge of an indoor clean air Act and leave technology the challenge of finding a solution? A multimillion pound business such as smoking surely has the creativity and willingness to make the investment to find that solution, instead of our taking away people's freedom of choice.
I am grateful for that intervention, although by and large the Liberals should resist making too much legislation, because it can be habit-forming.
I was about to mention the practicalities of the ban. Amendment No. 8 has been tabled by Mr. Forth, with whom I seldom have much in common, but on this occasion I trail behind him. He is not in his place at the moment, but I am sure that he is not having a cigarette outside. The amendment recognises a way in which we can co-exist. To see that way, one does not need to search out some distant nirvana or go to some distant nation that has somehow managed to structure the perfect legislative process. One need go only to the Upper Committee Corridor, where one will find an oasis, capped with graceful brushed aluminium, beneath which the discerning man or woman may stand, enjoy a cigarette, do whatever damage to themselves they will, and do no damage to anyone else. The tobacco smoke is swept up into the cowl, where it is filtered and exuded—
The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point about Ireland. The issue is where people smoke. There is evidence that since the ban there has been a 5 per cent. drop in the consumption of tobacco in Ireland, but if 95 per cent. of deaths from passive smoking occur from smoking in the home, the number of deaths from passive smoking may increase as a result of a ban on smoking in public places.
The hon. Gentleman is an expert in many fields. I was coming to the point that Ireland has seen a considerable increase in off-sales, which leads one to believe that those people who do not recognise the reality of the patio heater and the false ceiling are taking six-packs and 40 fags back to their homes, where their children will be. We need to think about that.
Well—[Hon. Members: "Go on!"] I will give way, but my right hon. Friend is nearly always right and I am nearly always wrong, so I am always reluctant to give way to him. I wish to finish my point, and then I will give way to him.
Technology is our friend on this issue. It is possible to scrub and clean the air. We have an example on the Upper Committee Corridor—
It does not work.
It does work, and all independent air testing verifies that. However, I have a terrible suspicion gnawing at my vitals that my right hon. Friend may be about to prove me wrong.
My hon. Friend Stephen Pound spoke about people in Ireland moving from pub to home to smoke. The Select Committee on Health took evidence from numerous organisations in Ireland, and was told on three occasions that what a senior politician on this side of the Irish sea had said was not true. There is no evidence that more people in Ireland are smoking at home. That was confirmed by the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend Caroline Flint, who has responsibility for public health, when she gave evidence to the Committee during our inquiry.
I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's contribution.
I would withdraw my remarks, but the reality is that off-sales have increased in Ireland. I was structuring an exegesis on that, and assumed that the off-sales would be consumed.
In a second. I know that the hon. Lady knows more about off-sales in Ireland than I do, but I was assuming that they were being consumed in the home. It is entirely possible that people are thronging to Phoenix park and drinking in the open air, but my assumption is that an increase in off-sales implies an increase in home consumption.
There is no evidence.
I thank the hon. Gentleman. In the Irish Republic, one person in three used to smoke, but that has fallen to fewer than one in four. That significant change shows that the ban has been a deterrent. If a ban is good enough for the Irish Republic and for Northern Ireland, I do not see why we should differentiate on the mainland.
It is clear that two of us here read the Irish Medical Journal. The figures show that there has been a continuing decline in the numbers of smokers over the past five years. There is no statistical evidence to suggest that the numbers have risen since the smoking ban was introduced. The long Kondratiev cycle has to be borne in mind, but five years is statistically significant.
I do not want to detain the House, but I appeal to hon. Members to think about the practicalities. A total ban will not make tobacco disappear, but coexistence is possible. I accept that we would prefer not to have either tobacco or smokers, but in fact we have both.
Earlier, I mentioned the smoke-free cowl on the Upper Committee Corridor, but now I refer the House to the dystopic hell—"Hernando's Hideaway"—that is the smoking room on the Library Corridor. It is like the "Raft of the Medusa" most nights, with great groups of people crammed into it. The air there is a little much even for my fragile lungs.
We need sanity and sense. This debate has stirred great emotions, but talking about dead bodies littering the streets, adopting an absolute position and saying that smoking will disappear if it is banned are not good ways to approach the matter. We must accept the reality of tobacco's existence and try to mitigate the nuisance and annoyance that it causes. We must protect young people from tobacco smoke and stop them taking up smoking, but for heaven's sake we must not make matters much worse by introducing legislation that Draco the lawgiver would have felt was too extreme.
At the heart of this debate are the health and safety of people working in pubs, clubs and enclosed public spaces. That has to be our starting point. It is welcome that the Government have got rid of the absurd distinction between food and non-food pubs.
In the Standing Committee, on which I served, and on Second Reading, the House was told why a gradualist approach was the thing to do: any country that introduced a ban had done so gradually, so the food/non-food distinction was a vital part of the effective implementation of the policy. Some weeks later, it is apparent that that was nonsense and that the Government knew it all along, so at least we have made some progress on that front.
I am trying to work out what constitutes a rebel nowadays, because we seem to have reached a never-never world. The Secretary of State has tabled an amendment in defiance of her party's manifesto and her junior Minister has tabled an amendment to the right hon. Lady's amendment, while the Department of Health press release, issued on
"Although the New Clause has been tabled in Patricia Hewitt's name and the Amendment in Caroline Flint's name, this is simply in order to facilitate a free vote and does not necessarily indicate which way either will vote themselves."
That is an incredible situation and, even today, in response to an intervention, the Secretary of State said that she had not made up her mind. One can understand the merits of a free vote, but the idea that the Secretary of State, who is responsible for the health of the nation and thus, to some extent for the health and safety of workers, does not know what she thinks is extraordinary. Indeed, the whole sequence of events has shown a lack of leadership by the Government. They tried to discern and follow public opinion, realised that they were running behind it and so they are trying to play catch-up. That is no way to set a health policy.
The principal bone of contention is the position of private members' clubs. If we consider the matter, as I have done throughout, in terms of the health and safety of people who work in those environments, the fact that I am breathing in the second-hand smoke of someone who happens to have a membership card is irrelevant. The fact that they have agreed with other club members that they have the right to smoke, and I am expected to breathe it in, is irrelevant. The club is not home and people are inflicting smoke not on themselves or their loved ones, but on other people.
I am not sure that the hon. Gentleman was listening to what I said. The point that I am making is not about other customers or members of the club but about the health and safety of the people who work there. It is not about whether I choose to patronise the club, but the workers. As Andrew Selous said, we are talking about not one or two people but a large number—about 166,000.
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that many of our constituents in many parts of the country may not have a choice about where they work? Jobs may be in short supply, especially for young people—16 to 17-year-olds—for whom getting a first job is extremely difficult. They are often jolly lucky to be offered anything at all.
The hon. Gentleman makes a good point and I admire his courage in standing up for his principles. It is an extraordinary notion of health and safety that we should tell people who are working in an environment that is bad for their health, "Tough. Go and work somewhere else." If asbestos was found in the roof of a private members' club, we would not tell the staff to work somewhere else. We would sort out the health and safety problem, which is exactly what we should do in this case.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the British Medical Association report produced at the end of 2005, which compared the respiratory function of bar staff in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland before and after the introduction of the ban? The respiratory function of bar staff in the Republic after the ban was significantly better.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that point. There is also evidence from the land of the free—California—showing precisely the same thing over a much longer period: the lung and respiratory function of bar staff has substantially improved since bans were introduced.
I understand the hon. Gentleman's argument, but can he explain why smoking will be allowed in prisons? I do not follow the logic of that.
I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. I suspect that the reason is more to do with pragmatism than anything else, but I am making an argument about private clubs. The Secretary of State says that 95 per cent. of passive smoke comes from the home, as though the other 5 per cent. is somehow inconsequential, yet we have heard that we are talking about a very large number of people whose health is clearly adversely affected and, probably, thousands of premature deaths over a period of years. Although I enjoyed the comments of the hon. Member for Ealing, North, perhaps we need not be apocalyptic, but such things are fundamentally important to each individual case.
Of course, such things are fundamentally important to each individual case but, if only 5 per cent. of those who have died of passive smoking acquired that outside the home—that seems to be the figure that the Secretary of State was quoting—will the hon. Gentleman explain on what basis we are supposed to make a judgment? Of course, if that was 100 per cent. likely, the case for banning it might be better than if it was nil per cent. likely. What we seem to be hearing is that that is relatively unlikely. Is not passive motoring a great deal more dangerous?
No. The hon. Gentleman is getting confused between a certainty of 5 per cent. and a probability of five in 100. In other words, as we have just heard, no one doubts that the health of people who work in bars where people smoke suffers and that some of them die prematurely. That is certain, inasmuch as these things can ever be proven with certainty. There is not a 5 per cent. chance that that is true; it is pretty much 100 per cent. true for that 5 per cent. That is the distinction that I am making. A set of people who work in such environments suffer and that is pretty much proven empirically.
Irrespective of whether we are talking about private space, the issue is about the welfare of the people who work there. If we exempt private members' clubs, do we risk driving a coach and horses through the exemption altogether? I am not sure whether I am clear about the answer. Will the Rose and Crown turn itself into a private members' club?
The hon. Gentleman is making a compelling point. I got involved in this campaign many years ago, because I believed in the protection of workers' health. I joined the Labour party because I thought that protecting workers' health was one of our fundamental principles. Is not this also about changing the culture? That is why it is important to take the clubs out as smoking venues: we want to change the culture of how people perceive their leisure and their fun. It is important to have smoke-free leisure and smoke-free fun.
The hon. Gentleman is right in the sense that a total ban would have that effect—total bans have done so where they have been implemented—but that is not where I am coming from. Clearly, a total ban is much easier to enforce than a partial one. I want to return to the loophole point, because the profit-making issue has been raised. Again, I cannot understand the relevance to someone who works in a smoky environment of whether or not they are making more or less money from the sales than it is costing them to sell the goods. That seems to be a red herring.
May I push the hon. Gentleman in a different direction on loopholes and private members' clubs? A private members' club such as the Garrick in London is a very different beast from a private members' club such as Treorchy working men's social club, because the working men's clubs in constituencies such as mine are, to all intents and purposes, the place that people normally go to do their drinking, as if it were an ordinary pub. If we exempt working men's clubs, we will do nothing for the vast majority of the poorest people in my constituency who are equally affected.
The hon. Gentleman raises an important issue about, for example, communities with one members' club and one pub. To the extent that a set of people will vote with their feet, a pub that is prevented from allowing anyone to smoke could lose business and thereby possibly be undermined. Again, it would be unfair to introduce such a distortion using legislation.
The Secretary of State spoke about space around the bar. If we do not pass the ban on smoking in private members' clubs, I am not sure whether people must chalk lines on the floor or use white tape to show that people can smoke on one side of the line but not the other. A distance criterion has been suggested, as though the smoke will come to a screeching halt at the line. That is a strange basis on which to protect people's health. Will we say that people can smoke if they face away from the bar but not if they face towards it? It seems incredible that ministerial comments so far have suggested a distance criterion. People can smoke if they stand away from the bar, but not if they are close to it. The Secretary of State shakes her head, but that is exactly what was said on Second Reading, as the record will show. In a sense, the proposal is a fudge that accepts that passive smoke is bad for the people who work in such clubs.
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, whatever our views—there have been heated exchanges across the Floor and within the parties—it is crucial that there is clarity and not confusion? We must be clear exactly what we will end up with. If we are not, the law will be unenforceable and unworkable.
I very much agree with that point. We may have clarity for pubs, but applying the rules will be much more difficult in clubs if there is a distance requirement or the rules apply only to parts of the building. Enforcement is much more difficult if there is a lack of clarity.
Will the hon. Gentleman give the lie to what someone said about it being a huge breach of tradition in this place if there were legislation for private members' clubs? That is not the case. We all know that health and safety regulations apply equally to private members' clubs, pubs and factories. Would it not be sane for legislation such as this to apply also to private members' clubs?
Not only is the hon. Gentleman right, but that might be the outcome even if the House tried to make such a distinction. The idea that there would be a set of workers who had second-class protection seems unsustainable. Even if that were the will of the House today, I have a feeling that the issue would return here via the courts very soon.
I wish to make further observations about some of the arguments that are used for exempting private members' clubs. The first is that we have some sort of carriage in which people would not have to work. People would presumably have to get in and out of such rooms and smoke goes to and fro. People would also have to clear the glasses in such rooms and sort out any scuffles that might take place. Smoke will remain in such areas, especially if they are sealed, for a considerable time. Without the ventilation found in a jumbo jet—I gather that it is what it would take completely to purify the air—there will be residual toxins in the air. The well-being of the workers cannot be protected just by having a partitioned-off room.
We have made progress on the Bill, but clearly we have not gone far enough. There is a balance of liberties to consider. People want to be able to smoke and they will still be able to do so in their own homes and out of doors, but it is the job of the House to protect the liberty of people to work in an environment that does not potentially fatally damage their health. That is why I have argued consistently throughout—I will again vote for this in the Lobby tonight—that a total ban is the only proper approach to the issue.
I thank my Front-Bench colleagues and the Government for giving me and all Labour Members, both Front and Bank Benchers, the opportunity of a free vote.
When I and my colleagues on the Health Committee began to consider the issue, we did not know what the outcome would be. It is fair to say that some of us held widely differing views, while others had not yet made up their minds. We did what the House and the Select Committee system asked us to do. We took evidence and heard from witnesses. We heard from doctors, public health experts, the tobacco industry, the hospitality trade, trade unions, the Health and Safety Commission, the chief medical officer at the Department of Health and others. Having heard and read all the evidence, we reached a conclusion without dissent. Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and independent Members signed the report and the subsequent amendment tabled for Report that was withdrawn when the Government tabled new clause 5 and amendments (a) to (d).
It is relatively unusual for such a clear view to emerge from a Select Committee. I say that as I look at my hon. Friend Mr. Sheerman, whose Committee has presented a report to the House in recent weeks. Because our Committee took such a clear view, I believe that what it said is worthy of careful consideration by the House tonight. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Committee—from all parties and none—for their hard work and willingness to consider the evidence fairly before reaching an objective decision.
The right hon. Gentleman has campaigned on the issue for a long time. Did his Committee consider the possibility of using air conditioning? Does he think that it is a practical proposition or that it is impractical, as the Californians and those in New York city have found?
I said earlier that when the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend Mr. Woodward, made a statement on comprehensive legislation on the matter for Northern Ireland, which will be considered in the House because of the suspension of the Assembly, he said that ventilation did not work. We examined ventilation and found no evidence to support its use. An academic from the university of Wales could supply us with no evidence that air conditioning works. It might work if there is a system such as that in a hospital theatre, but opening windows and doors does not protect bar workers.
If, as I expect and hope, this proves to be a good day for Parliament, I suggest that it will also be a good day for the Select Committee system. Let me summarise what the Committee found. First, scientific evidence on the health effects of second-hand smoke is clear and overwhelming. We accept the verdict of the Government's advisers from the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health—SCOTH—that exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk to non-smokers of heart disease and lung cancer by about a quarter.
In most, although not all, cases, the tobacco industry continues to deny such evidence. Representatives of the industry continued to pursue that line when they gave evidence to the Committee. However, it should not be forgotten that for many years the industry denied in public that direct smoking was a cause of cancer, although its private view was very different. Indeed, action that was taken in the United States meant that it opened its archives, which gave us evidence that it knew about the consequences of direct smoking years ago, but hid those facts.
Will my right hon. Friend acknowledge the work of Sir Richard Doll, who sadly died a year ago at the age of 90? In 1954, he produced the first paper that showed the increased mortality of heavy smokers. He also showed that people could live longer depending on the age at which they gave up smoking.
I acknowledge what Richard Doll did in not only the United Kingdom, but worldwide. His authority on the matter was denied for many years, mostly due to the connivance of the tobacco industry, which tried to hide the fact that deaths were caused by tobacco here and throughout the world.
Using the estimates of risk in the SCOTH report, Professor Konrad Jamrozik calculated in a paper published in the British Medical Journal that exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace caused about 600 deaths a year, which is about three times the number of people in this country killed in industrial accidents each year. Second-hand smoke is also responsible for thousands of episodes of illness. For example, Asthma UK reports that it is the second most common trigger of asthma attacks at work.
Of course, workers who are routinely exposed to other people's smoke are those who are most at risk. Bar workers are thus top of the list, but we should not forget that the Government's figures show that about 2 million people work in places in which smoking is allowed throughout and that more than 10 million people work in places in which smoking is allowed somewhere on the premises—that is not a small number. I suggest that there are thus sufficient health and safety justifications for ending smoking in the workplace. I deeply regret that the Bill is seen as a measure of public opinion, rather than a measure to protect people in the workplace, which is how other such legislation that we pass is thought of.
My right hon. Friend and I have been companions in arms on the matter for a long time and have been called a lot of names—I suppose that "puritans" was one of the nicest. Hon. Members have called the Bill a ban on smoking. It is not a ban on smoking, but a line in the sand that says that we will from now start a new culture in our country in which people realise that smoking kills them, or seriously affects their health.
I could not agree more and will come on to that point.
Health and safety concerns are sufficient reason for resisting the Government's original plans to exempt from smoke-free legislation pubs that do not serve food. Why should workers in such pubs be denied the protection that other workers are to be given? It is nonsense to think that we should pass such a measure in the House. Health and safety concerns are sufficient reason not to exempt membership clubs from the law. Licensed clubs employ bar staff, who are routinely exposed to other people's smoke. The fact that the clubs in which they work are owned by members does not afford them any protection from lung cancer or heart disease. The notion that club members should be able to vote to continue to expose their workers to such risks is unacceptable. I came to the House after working for 18 years in one of the most dangerous industries in the United Kingdom. It would be unacceptable for Parliament to pass legislation on that industry by ignoring fundamental facts, but the Bill attempts to do so on smoking.
It is farcical to suggest that a private members' club is an extension of the home. I have been a member of a club for many years, but clubs are not as private and secluded as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State suggested on the radio this morning. A member of a club in the Club and Institute Union can affiliate to the wider union for £3 a year, and can go to 2,600 clubs and buy a drink without anyone preventing them from doing so. Royal British Legion clubs, too, are not exclusive—a member of the British Legion can walk into any of its clubs and be served a drink.
Mr. Lansley raised the issue of children. Clubs differ marginally from public houses, because there are often many children inside them. They are family-oriented and many hold weekly discos for young children. They organise Easter bonnet parades, Christmas functions and so on for families and young children, so the proposal to exempt clubs from the smoking ban is ludicrous.
If Members do not believe that it is reasonable and practicable to protect people in the workplace under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, they should wait until the House passes the smoking legislation and see what the no win, no fee lawyers do to clubs trying to secure indemnity insurance. In its evidence to the Select Committee, the Health and Safety Commission clearly recommended that pubs, bars and clubs should be covered by the law in the same way as every other workplace. That view is shared by the TUC, which passed a motion nem. con. in congress in September to ban smoking in all workplaces. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, which represents more than 640 bar workers in clubs, wants a ban, and issued a press release on Friday—I am sure that Members have seen it—in which general secretary John Hannett said:
"Our members are already reporting that they can get a lot of abuse when asking club members to stop smoking at the bar, which is already illegal".
That is not, in fact, illegal in private clubs but only illegal in public bars. Mr. Hannett continued:
"So we think this amendment will make sure our members can work free of abuse from customers and free from abuse of their lungs."
Why should club bar staff have to try to enforce the farcical measure whereby someone is not supposed to smoke near the bar?
When the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley gave evidence to the Health Committee, I asked her about clubs that offer entertainment. If someone is working on the stage, will the Government say that we should stop people smoking near the stage? At a reception earlier today, I was talking to Fiona Castle, the widow of Roy Castle, who we all know contracted lung cancer without ever smoking a cigarette in his life. Many people think that that was because of the secondary smoke that he inhaled in his career as a club entertainer. It is nonsense to think that we can protect people from secondary smoke if exemptions such as the one proposed are made.
Let me offer one more quote from somebody who works behind a bar—not somebody who goes into a bar by choice, but somebody who gets a living behind a bar. Another of the staff whom USDAW represents says:
"If we are exempt from this ban, even more smokers are going to come in, and the smoke will get even worse."
What have they done to deserve that? If a person can move from a pub in my village to a club over the road to smoke, that will make matters even worse not just for bar workers, but for other people in the club.
Those who argue that private members' clubs should be exempt accept that they should not be exempt from health and safety legislation. They rely, therefore, on the analogy between a private members' club and a person's private home. My right hon. Friend has already mentioned that, but does he agree that it cannot be emphasised enough that that analogy is entirely false and has no basis in reality?
The analogy is absolutely false. I hope the House will see it for what it is and vote accordingly after the debate.
Although I accept that the analogy is not a good one, does my right hon. Friend accept that the Bill does not make smoking in private illegal?
Indeed. I shall come to that, if I do not have to take any further interventions. I am keen to finish my speech because others want to speak.
Labour Members gave a pledge in our manifesto about what we would and would not exempt. As an MP for more than 20 years, I have always taken manifesto commitments extremely seriously and I still do, but we must consider the matter logically and ask whether it would be practical to apply an exemption. The answer is no. It is not practical in respect of pubs that do not serve food or in respect of clubs.
My right hon. Friend makes a powerful case for the full ban and for it to apply to private members' clubs as well, but he recognises that, because of the manifesto position, some people might have thought that the Government or the House would take a different view and that there would be time for them to adjust. Is he rigidly advocating the timetable as previously set out or is there a case for allowing people more time to prepare before the full ban comes in, applying both to bars and to private members' clubs?
That is a matter for the Government. If a comprehensive ban is agreed tonight, it is crucial that it is enforced in a way that means that everybody understands where one may smoke and where one may not smoke. Unfortunately, my hon. Friend Stephen Pound is not with us. I had one or two things to say to him about that.
If hon. Members are not persuaded by the health argument, what about the economic argument? To force some pubs to make a choice between stopping people smoking and stopping serving food would create a gross and unjustified market distortion, as well as making a mess of the Government's alcohol strategy and worsening health inequalities. To force pubs that cease to allow smoking to compete with bars and clubs in the same street that still permit it would be unfair and unreasonable.
Like many other hon. Members, I have received representations not just from the industry, but from local publicans. I have one from Steve Smith and Wendy Edwards of The Thurcroft, a public house in one of the villages in my constituency. I know that public house very well. Five hundred yards down the road is Thurcroft Miners Welfare, and five hundred yards up the road is the Unity club, or the "top club", as it is known in the village. The income of those people will be threatened directly if the ban suggested in new clause 5 is introduced.
I received a letter from Mr. Jan Sowa, who runs a small company that runs three pubs, one of which is The Blue Bell in Aston, another village in my constituency. That pub, too, will be under threat if smoking is allowed in clubs. I do not want to see small businesses such as pubs close because of what the House does. I hope that other hon. Members do not want to see that either. That is why the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Hospitality Association and many others in the leisure and tourism industry now support comprehensive legislation. They see the dangers to businesses.
I want to underpin what the right hon. Gentleman is saying about the economy suffering. Is he aware that one year after New York's smoke-free air act was introduced in 2003, tax receipts for restaurants and bars had risen by 8.7 per cent.? Over the same period, jobs in bars and restaurants increased by more than 10,000.
I agree with the hon. Lady, who will also know that Ireland's retail sales figures now show that bar sales rose sharply, by more than 5 per cent., in the year to October 2005. Such legislation is good for business.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a point at which economics and health are linked? The landlord of a pub in my constituency, Chris Beaumont of The Greys, which is the only Egon Ronay-listed pub in Brighton, points out to me that he wants to carry on serving food, but there are 17 other pubs and two clubs within a square mile of his premises. If the measures suggested in new clause 5 are not introduced, people will either leave his pub to drink elsewhere or he will have to stop serving food. He points out to me, however, that if there were a total ban on smoking in all pubs, his customers would simply have to get used to it and possibly stop smoking—
Order. To set an example to others, let me say to the hon. Gentleman that a very short time is left, and long interventions really do not help.
My hon. Friend read out almost the whole e-mail, but not quite. Small businesses ask hon. Members on both sides of the House for a level playing field every day of the week. They want any legislation that gives them a level playing field and say, "Let us know that next week is predictable." We should not introduce exemptions that could throw small businesses into chaos and which would have major effects in constituencies such as mine that have many small villages and pubs.
Did not our hon. Friend Stephen Pound make a particularly vacuous point in suggesting that an increase in sales in off-licences was evidence that more people were going to drink at home? In fact, a pre-existing trend was in place well before the banning of smoking in Irish pubs, and it was not affected by the ban.
That is true, but as I have already intervened on that matter, I shall not go any further.
The new clause and amendments (a) to (d) would bring England into line with the law that is soon to come into effect in Scotland, that has now been promised in two votes by the National Assembly for Wales and that the Government have announced for Northern Ireland, on which I suspect we will legislate in the next few months. I hope that hon. Members from all three countries will see no difficulty in joining us in giving the same protection to workers and members of the public in England as the rest of the United Kingdom is getting.
The tobacco industry and its allies often argue that smoke-free laws are an infringement of liberty, but I suggest that, once it is accepted that breathing in other people's smoke is dangerous to health, we will recognise that we are really dealing with a conflict of interest. I recognise people's right to smoke and that tobacco is a lawful product. Smoking may be self-destructive, but it is ultimately a matter of choice. I say to people, including my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North, that people in the Irish Republic make that choice. They step outside into unconfined spaces and still enjoy drinks and cigarettes as well without affecting other people in the pub, including bar workers. That view is certainly widely shared by the general public. Recent polling shows that about 70 per cent. of the public back comprehensive smoke-free legislation, including all pubs and bars.
Finally, I want to mention the enormous public health benefit offered by smoke-free legislation. One in four adults in our country still smoke, and more than 100,000 of them will die as a result. It is by far the greatest cause of preventable deaths and the biggest single contributor to health inequalities and the difference in life expectancy between social classes. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North has found some fun in the matter, but I have great difficulty in making jokes about it.
The Government's figures in the regulatory impact assessment suggest that a comprehensive smoke-free law would reduce smoking prevalence rates by 1.7 per cent. That would mean 700,000 people giving up smoking across England, which would lead as night follows day to thousands fewer dying each year from cancer, emphysema, peripheral vascular disease and other illnesses that can be caused by smoking. Over time, that would decrease health inequalities, which are far too great in many parts of this country.
Last night, the House debated ID cards, including how useful they will be in preventing terrorism and saving lives. Tomorrow, we will debate the Terrorism Bill, and again the question will be how useful the legislation is in saving lives. Tonight, if hon. Members vote for amendments (a) to (d), they will do so in the certain knowledge that the legislation will save lives and drastically improve the health of our constituents.
Several hon. Members rose—
Order. The two Back-Bench contributions to this debate have averaged 21 minutes. I appeal for brevity if we are to get the breadth of opinion across the House.
This evening, we have heard a series of arguments shot full of inconsistencies. In his peroration, Steve Webb said that he would vote for a total ban. Oh no he will not—a total ban is not on the agenda. If hon. Members on both sides of the House believe that smoking is so bad for one's health, that those who work bars, restaurants and private clubs suffer so much, and that 95 per cent. of the damage done by secondary smoking is done in the home and only 5 per cent. in other locations, surely, without looking too closely at the emperor's clothes, the argument must be that smoking should be banned altogether. People who do not adopt that approach are a little bit pregnant, and they must decide how far they are prepared to go down that ludicrous road.
I do not smoke and I am asthmatic, but I believe that while the law of the land says that smoking is legal, the British public—the English public—should have the choice whether to smoke in smoking clubs, pubs and restaurants. They should also have the choices not to smoke in non-smoking clubs, pubs and restaurants and whether to work in such establishments. I do not know a single employee who has had a gun held to their head and been told, "You must go and work in that pub, where they allow smoking."
There is an answer but it is not on offer, which is why those Members who support amendment No. 8 want to delete part 1 of the Bill and make the House think again. The answer is that every drinking establishment, club, restaurant and pub is licensed to sell alcohol, and it does not take a great leap of imagination to work out that it is possible to licence every pub, club and restaurant to be either smoking or non-smoking. The public and employees would then choose which type of establishment they want to patronise, and they will choose smoke or smoke-free. I have no problem with making the installation of cleansing equipment a condition of obtaining a smoking licence. It has been said in this House this evening that air conditioning does not work, but we are not talking about air conditioning—we are talking about air purification. Air purification systems do work. It is eminently reasonable to say that if a publican wants to have a smoking pub he should invest in the machinery that will keep the air clean for the benefit of the staff.
We know perfectly well that the Exchequer could not bear the cost of banning smoking, which is why there will be no smoking ban. We know that prison staff could not control prisons, which is why there will be no ban on smoking in prisons—it has nothing to do with the health of the prison staff. The debate to date has reeked of hypocrisy, and we need to get some common sense and consistency into it. I urge the House to dismiss this whole package and think again.
I support the case for excluding private members' clubs from the ban. I am grateful to Ministers for giving all Members the opportunity to vote for a number of options, but I want to emphasise that clubs are different. That was outlined in the guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, which states at paragraph 9.2:
"The 2003 Act recognises that premises, to which public access is restricted and where alcohol is supplied other than for profit, give rise to different issues for licensing law than those presented by commercial enterprises selling direct to the public."
It says that those premises include
"Labour, Conservative and Liberal Clubs, the Royal British Legion, other ex-services clubs, working men's clubs, miners welfare institutions, social and sports clubs."
Every one of us has several such establishments in our constituencies. The guidance acknowledges that
"the premises are considered private and not generally open to the public".
It goes on to say:
"The Secretary of State wishes to emphasise that non-profit making clubs make an important and traditional contribution to the life of many communities in England and Wales and bring significant benefits. Their activities also take place on premises to which the public do not generally have access and they operate under codes of discipline applying to members and their guests."
I am not a smoker, but I do not like smoke blowing in my face from smokers sitting nearby any more than anyone else does. Nor am I opposed to a ban on smoking in private members' clubs. However, I believe that the decision on whether to ban it should be for the members of that club to make. That is the important principle that I wish to pursue.
I do not refute the health arguments, although there is a great deal of exaggeration in that regard, particularly when hon. Members accuse club members of killing their staff. That is a little over the top. As Mr. Gale pointed out, the Bill does not make smoking illegal. Smoking in private will still be legal. Unless we want to take the bull by the horns and ban smoking completely, some of the arguments smack of hypocrisy.
We have long maintained in this country the right of people to form private clubs in which they—the members—decide what legal activities go on. Clubs must be allowed to make those decisions for themselves and in their own time. They are democratic, non-profit-making organisations, and many of them are struggling. If this is forced upon them and they cannot make these changes in their own way and in their own time, many will close, and their staff, far from being in a smoke-free environment, will be in a work-free environment.
We have heard that passive smoking in the workplace kills four times as many employees a year as asbestosis. My hon. Friend would not support for one minute a club that refused to remove flaking asbestos that posed a hazard to its staff. That would not be a matter for democratic decision for club members—it would have to be done. Why does he not apply the same standards to a health hazard that is more dangerous to the staff of clubs?
We are not considering the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, but the Health Bill. If the Government want to pursue the issue in the way that my hon. Friend suggests, the health and safety legislation should be amended. I repeat that if smoking is so lethal, it should be banned completely. What is the case for not doing that other than perhaps the case for the Revenue, which is important to any Government?
My hon. Friend said that he was not opposed in principle to private members clubs banning smoking. The Secretary of State said that if an exemption were made for private members clubs, an annual vote would be insisted upon. If such a vote is held annually, should it be conducted by a postal ballot of all club members or at an annual general meeting? In the case of such a vote, should people be able to reverse the decision that they made the previous year? Should they be able to change year after year?
I shall consider the annual vote shortly, but I will not discuss the complexities of how the ballots should take place. That is for another day. Today, we are debating the principle of the matter.
The licensed trade has argued that the Bill will sound the death knell of many pubs because people will move from pubs to clubs. Pubs have open access and far more freedom than clubs to introduce attractions that will bring in the public and lead to their continuing patronage. The bingo clubs and casinos claim that people will flock from them to private clubs. That is nonsense because people who patronise bingo clubs and casinos go for much bigger prizes than any working men's club could offer. They would certainly not be attracted merely by the ability to have a cigarette.
If, as we are told, the non-smoking population is growing and the smoking population is declining, the non-smokers may migrate from the smoking to the non-smoking establishments. Banning smoking in pubs and restaurants may benefit rather than cause problems for those places. I do not therefore accept the trade's arguments. It is worried because it erroneously believes that the measure will give non-profit-making clubs an advantage. It is concerned about its profits, not anyone's health.
Steve Webb claimed that if exemptions were made, the Rose and Crown might turn itself into a private club. If he believes that, he does not understand the Licensing Act 2003. To become a private club, a pub has to satisfy all the conditions, including becoming a non-profit-making members' club. I do not believe that the Rose and Crown wants to be a non-profit-making establishment, so it is unlikely to become a club.
Many clubs already take action to restrict and even ban smoking on their premises. The annual ballot, which my hon. Friend Chris Bryant mentioned, will accelerate the process. They will have to consider the matter annually and I am sure that the smoking restrictions will continue. Let us not use a good Bill to erode the traditional freedoms of our private clubs and, in too many cases, threaten their existence.
I hope that when my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary responds to the debate she will clarify something that the Secretary of State said earlier. My right hon. Friend appeared to imply in a radio interview this morning, and in an answer that she gave me earlier, that there will be regulations to restrict smoking in any room where there is a bar. Today is the first time that we have heard that. The letter that the Secretary of State sent to clubs when the point was first queried stated:
"we will uphold our manifesto commitment to protect employees by prohibiting smoking in the bar area".
That is completely different. If we are to impose a ban on smoking in every room in a club where there is a bar, we may as well include clubs in the overall ban.
Does my hon. Friend accept that the complexity and lack of clarity to which he refers are an indication of the problems that will arise unless there is a comprehensive ban?
I am not sure what the lack of clarity is. Clubs are dealing with those issues as we speak. There are already restrictions on smoking in the bar area and most club members uphold them. If they do not, they will not be club members for long. Clubs discipline their members if they do not stick to the rules.
I do not oppose—and I shall support—a smoking ban in public places, but I cannot accept that we should legislate against private members' clubs in that way. It is against all our traditions. The best answer, as in so many cases, is education rather than legislation.
I want to make an extremely brief speech, as many other Members wish to speak in the debate. It was disappointing that the Secretary of State was unable to share with the House how she plans to vote on this matter. She is the Secretary of State for Health and this is one of the most important public health issues that this Parliament will debate. It would have been helpful if, under the protection of a free vote, she could have indicated to the House what her preference was among the options available to us. She said that she would listen to the debate. I have been listening to this debate for 30 years, and it would be astonishing if some new and decisive argument were to emerge in these two hours to clinch the debate one way or the other. The last time we debated this matter, she put forward a view, constrained by collective responsibility, with which we know she disagreed. Against that background, and with the protection of a free vote, it would have been helpful if she had been able to tell us her views on this occasion.
I want to pay tribute to the work of the Select Committee. It was courageous of the Committee to confront head on a pledge in the Government's manifesto, six months after the general election. The role of the Select Committee has been decisive in this debate and it is a model of what Select Committees should do. It detected an argument that had unsound foundations, exposed it, then produced a clear, unambiguous, unanimous report that has been of enormous assistance to the House.
I want to pick up a point made by David Taylor, and I make no apology for raising the West Lothian question. In the Standing Committee, we had a vote on whether the distinction between pubs that serve food and those that do not should be removed. The Government won by one vote, that of a Scottish Member whose constituents will have the benefit of a comprehensive ban. His vote was decisive at that stage in ensuring that my constituents would not have the benefit of such a ban. At some point, the Government will have to address that issue, because it is going to recur time and again.
I hope that, at the end of this debate, Parliament will send out the clear signal that smoking is a harmful activity that it wishes to discourage. My concern, however, is that we are about to remove one indefensible distinction, namely, the distinction between pubs that serve food and those that do not, with another indefensible distinction, namely, that between pubs and clubs. As Mr. Barron has just explained in his excellent speech, no public health argument, no employment argument and no public nuisance argument can be used to distinguish private clubs from pubs. He also explained that the barrier between a private club and a pub is a very narrow one—a £3 subscription will give access to a wide range of clubs. The tobacco industry wants a confused signal to emerge from Parliament that smoking is an activity that can be validated in certain circumstances. It would be much better to send a clear message that people can, of course, smoke in private but that smoking in a public place is something that Parliament wishes to discourage.
I will not, if the hon. Gentleman does not mind, because I want other people to get in.
Finally, I want to make a point to my right hon. and hon. Friends who feel that there is something about being in the Conservative party that means that they should not vote for a ban. The Conservative party has a long history of taking public health seriously. Crash helmets were made compulsory for motor cyclists under a Conservative Government. Seat belts were made compulsory for rear passengers by a Conservative Government. A Conservative Government were in favour of putting fluoride in the water supply—
It is perfectly consistent to be a member of the Conservative party and to take public health seriously by voting for a smoking ban in public places. Of course people should have the freedom to smoke, but that freedom needs to be balanced by the freedom of other people to enjoy clean, fresh air. When the Divisions are called, I shall, without any hesitation at all, vote with the right hon. Member for Rother Valley.
It is always a great pleasure to follow Sir George Young. I wish that he had also mentioned the historic connection between the beer industry and the Conservative party, but apart from that he made some excellent points. I do not want to repeat them, but I want to emulate him by being brief.
We should celebrate the fact that this matter is being decided on a free vote. That is good for Parliament. I know that we cannot resist the temptation to revert to type by teasing Ministers about this, but it is good that we should approach issues in this way and that Ministers should, quite legitimately, take different views on a matter of judgment. We cannot both celebrate the free vote and attack Ministers for doing that. The more that we can decide issues in this way, the better it will be for Parliament, and not just because it is sometimes politically convenient.
It is a good thing that we are going to ban smoking in public places tonight, but it is extraordinary that we did not do it a long time ago. It is such an obvious public health measure and Parliament should have turned its attention to it long ago. My only dissent from what is being proposed—I do not think that it will be tested in the Division Lobby—is that we could have taken a much simpler approach from the beginning. We should simply have proposed to separate the smokers from the non-smokers. The distinctions that the Government originally introduced were not sustainable. The idea that we should distinguish between pubs that served food and those that did not had no foundation in any public health argument. Nor do I believe that the distinction between pubs and clubs is sustainable. Some hon. Members have argued forcefully about the freedom involved in private members' clubs being allowed to do their own thing, but that argument is trumped by the view that basic protections should be afforded to the workers involved, and that overrides the distinction. Those workers would not have the freedom not to be exposed to other people's smoke.
Those distinctions must fall away, but it would have been easier to carry public opinion with us on this by adopting a simpler approach, such as the introduction of some kind of physical segregation in all kinds of premises between the smoking area and the small non-smoking area. I would have imposed onerous conditions on the smoking area involving physical separation and the sealing of rooms, and allowing no children, food or drink. I might have added provisions about sophisticated ventilation equipment—
And padded walls.
Some people would have put in padded walls and thrown away the key.
The approach that I have just outlined would have met the public health objectives that underpin what we are attempting to achieve, while ensuring that we retained a certain amount of freedom to exercise a legitimate activity. That approach would have carried public opinion with it. What we do tonight must have clarity and enforceability, and it must have public support. There would have been a simpler way of doing this, as I have just outlined, and we must ensure that clarity, simplicity and enforceability are at the heart of these provisions.
I wish to speak to amendment No. 6, on which I hope we shall have the chance to vote later. I am delighted that my hon. Friend Mr. Lansley is lending his support to it. The amendment has come as quite a surprise to many of my right hon. and hon. Friends, because they did not realise that the coercive powers that the Government are taking under clause 5 include the power to ban smoking in private motor vehicles. It would be wrong in principle to do such a thing, as well as totally impractical. I have yet to hear the Government offer any defence for taking this power, and, in the absence of any such defence, I hope that the whole House will support my amendment.
I also want to address the issue of prisons. The Government line is that smoking is bad for our health and that of those around us. If that is so, why is smoking still to be allowed in prisons under the Bill? I asked the Secretary of State, in an intervention, why there was a rule about prisons that was different from the rule proposed for clubs and other licensed premises. I did not really receive an answer.
I will not, because the right hon. Gentleman spoke for an inordinate length of time, and I want to allow others to speak.
The issue of smoking in prisons has been related to the issue of what a person can do in his or her own home, but there is a big distinction. At present people cannot drink alcohol in prison: thereby the Government accept that being a prisoner is different from being in an equivalent, or an extension, of one's own home.
Prisoners cannot vote either.
That is true, although we hear that the Government want to allow it in order to try to save a few seats at the next election.
If prisoners cannot drink alcohol, why should they be allowed to smoke? It strikes me as totally inconsistent to take freedom to smoke away from those who are not prisoners, while allowing it to remain for those who are. Apart from anything else, we know that smoking in prison is the means by which much illegal drug-taking can take place.
No, I am afraid I will not.
My hon. Friend Mr. Gale referred to amendment No 8, which I support enthusiastically. It seems that those of us who feel as he does about the legislation will have to vote against new clause 5. The important point is that health and safety law already applies to secondary smoke in workplaces, and the Bill is therefore unnecessary if it is designed to look after the health and well-being of people in the workplace.
The market is already operating to provide a range of options for the general public of smoke-free and smoke-filled premises. In a hotel, it is possible to stay in a smoke-filled bedroom or in one that is non-smoking. That shows that the market is working. The tyranny of the intolerant should not be allowed to prevail over the freedoms of the minority.
I have never smoked, and despite the provocation from the Government, I do not intend to start now; but smoking is a legal activity. If hon. Members want to outlaw it, let us have a prohibition Bill. Until that time, let us trust the people and the market.
I too will be brief, or as brief as I can be. I think we could generate an awful lot of nonsense. Perhaps I should apologise, as someone from Northern Ireland, because the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Woodward, has relieved us of responsibility: he has done the wise thing, and provided for a total ban in a few months' time. I hope that Sir George Young will allow my vote tonight in favour of a stronger ban to cancel out the irresponsible vote of someone else.
Smoking is a killer. Smoking maims people. Smoking cripples people. There is a whole spectrum of damage that smoking cigarettes—smoking tobacco—does to people. It is the single greatest cause of serious morbidity and mortality, and one of the single greatest burdens on the national health service owing to the illness that it causes. Others have spoken on the subject, and I do not want to go into the details of the damage to lungs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Smoking does even more damage to the cardiovascular system. There is brain damage, stroke damage and all the rest. We could split hairs on whether we stop that a little bit, a bigger bit or completely, which is as far as we can go. By "completely" I mean stopping smoking in public places completely; I do not accept that there can be an absolute ban on smoking, although I should like to see the day when that might happen.
Excuses are being made in relation to private spaces: clubs, private homes and vehicles. I do not think that anyone would suggest that people should be allowed to grow cannabis in their private homes or private spaces, and put it to whatever use they like, including the corruption of younger people. The reality is that smoking is damaging, and we in the House have a responsibility to ensure that the amount of damage it is allowed to do is limited.
Apart from the damage that smoking does to people, the cost to the national health service is awful. Smoking is crippling the NHS. As a result of the smoking that has taken place over the past 25 or 30 years, we shall have a legacy—a mortgage—of debt hanging over us for the next 30 years, until we remove smoking, reduce smoking or control smoking.
Before I came to the House I was a GP. Smoking, the damage done by it and the challenges involved in stopping presented me with one of my own greatest challenges. Trying to stop smoking is a difficult issue: it all comes down to individuals. A GP can do anything he likes to help people, but the biggest pitfall is what happens on a Friday or a Saturday night, or at the football match at the weekend. When there is a social occasion, people slip back on to the cigarettes. We must ensure that we give those people as much support as possible.
The southern Irish experience has been extremely positive. Faults can be found in it: there are breaches of the law, and people stand outside bars smoking—but even that has turned into a benefit, because matches are now being made outside the pub rather than inside. There is a smokers' club outside the door. Let us be serious, however. The Irish experience has worked. Smoking is down, and good public health is rising. It will be many years before that shows its full benefit, but I appeal to Members for God's sake to give people a chance. People are struggling to give up cigarettes. Most sensible people who are smokers want to stop smoking, and want us to help them to stop. We should not put any further obstacles or difficulties in their way.
It is a great pleasure to follow Dr. McDonnell, another member of the medical profession.
I pay tribute to Mr. Barron, who chaired the Health Committee while it produced two extremely strong and useful reports. I am delighted to see that the Secretary of State has returned. She said that she had not yet made up her mind. I am rather more naive than Sir George Young, and I believe that we could persuade some Members who have the luxury of a free vote to change their mind.
I speak as unofficial, unappointed, unelected medical adviser to the House. Even the youngest Members may have the beginning of coronary artery atheroma, that terrible condition that narrows the coronary arteries and leads relentlessly to heart attacks, usually in later life but often in relative youth. I think everyone knows that the risk factors we recognise are smoking, diabetes, a poor family history and hypertension; but we all know people in none of those categories who, out of the blue, have dropped dead of a heart attack, or have had a severe heart attack. Without those risk factors, each one of us could be sitting on our own particular time bomb.
Those of us who have reached my age do not play squash and the like because it is known that sudden exertion is one of the precipitating factors, but it is not generally known that passive smoking is also an acute precipitating factor. The atheroma builds up over the years. We have in our blood things called platelets, which normally help the blood to clot in the right place; but, according to a booklet from the Royal College of Physicians,
"Platelets are very sensitive to the effects of tobacco smoke, and experimental studies have shown that smoking one or two cigarettes per day has a similar effect on platelet aggregation to that seen in non-smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke for 20 minutes."
Platelets aggregate. They lump together. They increase the atheroma, increase the blockage, and possibly cause a complete occlusion. As has been said, the risks of cancer of the lung are linear, but that does not apply to the risks of coronary artery disease. So the ban on smoking in public places must be extended to all workplaces. It is no good saying that 99 per cent., or even 99.9 per cent., of people are protected; the last fraction of a per cent. deserve equal protection.
I want briefly to consider particulates—the tiny bits held in the smoke exhaled by smokers and, even worse, in the side-stream smoke that drifts away from the end of a cigarette as the smoker wafts it casually in the hand. A particle labelled as PM2.5—the label denotes its size, which is 2.5 microns—can get right into the lungs and is responsible for a lot of damage. Dr. Richard Edwards, a senior lecturer in public health from Manchester, told the Health Committee on
"So when you are talking about exposure from particles which are known to affect health, and there are plenty of studies to show that particulate matter affects health, some of the places where you get the very greatest exposure is in the indoor environment in smoky pubs".
If we exempt clubs, we will drive smokers to them and they will become even more lethal.
I am very grateful to my esteemed medical colleague for giving way on this important point. Does he therefore agree that because ventilation systems cannot remove these particulates in sufficient quantities, simply ventilating a pub's atmosphere will not reduce them to a safe level? He is therefore right to say that a total ban is the only credible way forward.
I thank my hon. Friend—I will call him my hon. Friend, even though he is on the other side of the House—for that intervention, with which I entirely agree. The Health Committee heard conclusive evidence to suggest that it is not possible to ventilate pubs in an affordable way. The comparison was made with operating theatres, but they have air conditioning systems with positive pressure, which blows everything out to prevent germs from coming in. Such a system cannot be replicated in pubs and clubs.
I conclude with two quotes. When, at last November's "Britain against cancer" conference, the head of Glasgow university's centre for oncology was asked what his single greatest wish was in respect of cancer prevention, he said:
"The key long-term priority is to limit smoking—everything else is lip service."
Professor Dame Carol Black, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, told the Health Committee:
"There is nothing that this government could do for health that would be better than to actually bring in this ban, absolutely nothing."
It is a great pleasure to follow Dr. Taylor; I was feeling quite healthy until he spoke.
Once in a political generation, one gets the chance, if one is lucky enough to sit on these Benches, to vote for a public health measure that will affect the health of thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of members of our society. As Sir George Young reminded us, no political party in this House has a monopoly on such measures. I am thinking here of the public health Acts of the 19th century, of the sewerage legislation, and of the clean air legislation of the 1950s and 1960s. The most successful of the Acts passed by our predecessors ended discussion about that topic for a generation. The legislation was clear and simple and it established a political settlement. We have a similar opportunity before us today.
I share the ambition of the hon. Member for Wyre Forest to persuade the Secretary of State to go that little bit further and to complete what is unfinished business. I hope to speak directly to her today, because the issue is clubs against pubs: should we extend the ban to members' clubs, as well as pubs? We have heard that 150,000 people, if not more, work in members' clubs, and I have always felt that the health of a bar worker in a club is every bit as important as that of a bar worker in a pub. Some Members have suggested that perhaps bar workers should change jobs if they do not like the premises that they work in. That shows a lack of understanding of the bars and clubs in our communities. In some communities, it is not easy for such workers to get another job.
Much has been made of the employee's ability to choose whether or not to work in a pub or a club. If private clubs are excluded from this legislation, when someone who is offered a job in a club refuses to take it, they would rightly be denied any social security benefits whatsoever. So where is the choice?
I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. The House has a responsibility to provide some certainty tonight. If we exempt clubs, we will be faced with years of legal action. Indeed, the Joint Committee on Human Rights suggested that if we distinguish between members' clubs and pubs, we may face legal action from bar workers in clubs, trade unions and so on. Businesses and clubs need certainty.
I have been telephoned, in my role as chairman of the all-party group on beer, by licensees from all over the country. I shall give just two examples, which happen to come from Doncaster and Leicester. The licensee of the Rockingham Arms, in Doncaster, told me that his pub is opposite the Comrades club, which is a social club near Doncaster race course, and that all he wants is a fair bat and ball—the chance to compete with it on equal terms. Of course, many of his regulars are also members of the club. We have to face the fact that the likely flow of traffic will be smokers shifting from pubs to the clubs of which they are a member. If we pass an exemption for clubs in this House tonight, it will constitute a St. Valentine's day massacre of many pubs. Pubs will close up and down the land and Members will have to face not just their licensees, but the darts team and the football team that has nowhere to go. Some pub charity Christmas raffles will no longer take place. Pubs are a vital part of our local community.
Has the hon. Gentleman considered the logical conclusion of his argument, which is that there is great demand for pubs in which people can smoke?
On health and safety grounds alone, we must face the reality of the situation. According to an American study, a non-smoking bar worker in a pub has a 20 times greater risk of developing cancer than a non-smoking bar worker in a non-smoking environment. We must be cognisant of that fact.
I want to address the remarks made by Mr. Lansley, in case I can persuade him, as well as my own Front Benchers, of my argument. I have always regarded him as the epitome of modern Conservatism, which involves a belief in simple regulation and market forces. It therefore beggars belief that he is advocating a very complicated regulatory system involving local authority inspectors visiting clubs to see whether children are present, and which will lead to many of our pubs being unable to compete on equal terms with clubs.
Does the hon. Gentleman not agree, however, with the Royal College of Physicians that one answer to the point made earlier by Mr. Robertson—my constituency neighbour—is that a truly comprehensive ban would reduce demand for smoking overall? The RCP pointed out that the comprehensive ban in Ireland led to a
"statistically significant increase in the percentage of smokers who banned smoking in their own homes after the smoke-free law was introduced".
So the more comprehensive the ban, the fewer the people who smoke, even at home, which is outside the scope of the ban.
We all know people who, having given up smoking, are tempted to start again every time that they go into a club or a pub. In Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, the number of households with a smoker has decreased considerably since the ban was imposed. So I appeal to all Members to go the extra step and pass a historic public health measure that bans smoking in all workplaces. I appeal especially to my hon. Friends, who have an instinct towards public health and the protection of staff. Do they really want to go back to their constituencies and say that on one of the only genuinely free votes that we are likely to have in this Parliament, they took the advice of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence—someone for whom I have great respect? I urge hon. Members to vote for a comprehensive ban and a smoke-free England.
I have thrown away my speech and will aim to speak for less than five minutes. We need to focus on one point. It is accepted that secondary smoke is dangerous. Workers need to be protected from that, so a comprehensive ban is necessary. However, we also accept that workers will be exposed to some secondary smoke, when they go outside pubs to collect the glasses.
Amendment No. 10 is a probing amendment to see whether the Government wish to consider whether it is possible to license, through local authorities, rooms—I accept that it is not possible to ventilate a whole pub—that could be ventilated to keep the level of secondary smoke below that outside the pub. Apart from Lynne Jones, we accept that people will smoke outside pubs, in the gardens. The question is whether it is possible to bring the level of secondary smoke in a room in the pub below the level found outside.
Unintended consequences will arise from a comprehensive ban. The evidence from Ireland is that the consumption of tobacco fell by some 5 per cent. as a result of the ban. The actual fall was some 9 or 10 per cent. but the trend is downwards anyway. However, smoking is still going on somewhere. By introducing the ban we will move people around, but we will mostly not stop people smoking. If we could achieve a situation in which the concentration of secondary smoke in the atmosphere is below a certain level under certain circumstances—as we accept it will be outside the pub—why not allow smoking rooms, on a licensed basis, within the pub?
In November, I wrote to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and said that I could not in conscience support the then Government position of a partial ban that would not allow smoking in licensed premises where food was served. I sent a copy to my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip. I congratulate both of them on the decision that we should have a free vote on an issue that may be the most important public health decision that will be made by the Government in this Parliament.
I have tried to assess the number of lives that could be lost if we had a partial rather than a full ban. The Jamrozik article in the British Medical Journal, mentioned by Mr. Lansley and my right hon. Friend Mr. Barron, states that 617 people die from passive smoking in the workplace each year on average and that some 54 of them work in the hospitality industry. If around one in three licensed premises were exempt from a smoking ban, around 20 people would lose their lives every year. That loss of life can be avoided if we choose a full ban.
I have spoken to the Health and Safety Executive to try to make comparisons with other industrial hazards. Some 37 people die each year from falling from a great height, such as building workers falling from inadequately erected scaffolding. A club would not use the freedom of individual members to make a decision to agree to save money by putting up faulty scaffolding, thus putting at risk the lives of people who work for that club. They should not do the same with their employees by permitting smoking to continue.
On the railways, seven workers died in line-side accidents in the most recent year for which I have been able to obtain figures. One would not say that wearing an orange bib and abiding by the railway inspectorate's safety regulations should be a matter of personal choice for a railway company or employee. We have health and safety rules to protect people, and we should protect people working in private clubs in the same way as we propose to protect those working in other licensed premises, such as restaurants and pubs.
To those private clubs that wish to retain the right for people to smoke—by no means all of them, since two private bingo clubs in my constituency have asked me to support a comprehensive ban—I would say that they will put off more people coming in through the smoky atmosphere than will be encouraged in by permitting smoking. The legal pressures that are likely to come on club committee members from the families of employees who suffer illness or death as a result of passive smoking should make them think again. I urge all hon. Members, including my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health, to choose a consistent policy, protect employees in restaurants, pubs and clubs in the same way, and vote for amendments (a), (b), (c) and (d).
Amendment No. 36 accepts that there may be a case for banning smoking in certain public places, but excludes pubs, restaurants and clubs and, indeed, the home. I declare that I am a smoker, but I consider myself to be a considerate smoker. I would not want to smoke in anyone's car, house or office, or even in their company, unless they were happy with that or smoked themselves. It is because I am a considerate smoker that I find the proposed measures intolerant, not to mention illiberal and belonging to the nanny state.
I understand the right of people not to inhale the smoke that I exhale, but there is no reason why the rights of both smokers and non-smokers cannot be accommodated. We already have non-smoking pubs springing up all over the place: there are some in my constituency. We have many pubs that are mixed, with smoking areas and non-smoking areas, and we have pubs that are smoking throughout. We hear from hon. Members on both sides that there is a great demand for non-smoking pubs, and if that is so, the free market, which I thought new Labour believed in these days, will deliver those pubs and everybody will be happy.
It is my contention that the person best placed to decide whether or not to have smoking in his establishment is the pub landlord or the restaurateur, with due regard to his staff and customers. I do not accept that a ban would not lead to an increase in smoking at home, and I am disappointed that so much concern is rightly expressed for the welfare and health of workers, but that few of those who make such protestations have talked about the rights of children in the home. Are they not to be protected? I am convinced that more people will smoke at home than at present, but we do not seek to protect the rights of children.
I am sorry, but I do not have time.
Many staff in pubs smoke themselves and many small country pubs will be threatened by the ban. We hear, especially from Labour Members who oppose an exemption for private clubs, that people will flock from the pubs into such clubs. The logical conclusion of that argument is that there is a great demand for pubs that allow smoking, and many of them are small pubs in country areas. Along with the post offices and shops in country areas, they will be under threat. The landlord and landlady of the local inn in my home village of Twyning both smoke. They do not employ any staff, so why should they be covered by the ban? That would be totally intolerant.
The logical conclusion of the health argument is that the Government should ban smoking altogether. Smoking-related diseases cost the NHS £1.8 billion year. That is a fair amount, but rather insignificant when compared with the £8.1 billion that smokers put into the Exchequer every year. That explains the Government's hypocrisy in refusing to ban smoking entirely—it is due to money.
Of course I share concerns about staff who work in smoky establishments when they do not want to. However, jobs in the catering industry are very difficult to fill. That is why so many illegal immigrants are employed in catering. Other people have the option to go and work elsewhere. We talk about people working in smoky atmospheres, but what about those who work in coal mines or with dangerous chemicals or hazardous waste? Those problems have all been ignored today, and that is because they are difficult to deal with. However, if we were being consistent, we would be considering them as well.
I have been asked to keep my remarks brief—[Interruption.] It is a pity that Labour Members did not do the same and that their arguments were not more consistent. I shall end by saying that this is a very illiberal and totally unnecessary measure. We can protect people's health without this draconian legislation.
It has been quite a journey over the past eight months or so. This afternoon's debate has paralleled the discussion of the matter that has gone on in the public domain over that period. Speeches have been made by Steve Webb, my right hon. Friend Mr. Barron, the right hon. Member for New Hampshire—[Interruption.] I mean Sir George Young. In addition, my hon. Friend Dr. Wright, the hon. Members for Belfast, South (Dr. McDonnell) and for Wyre Forest (Dr. Taylor), and my hon. Friends the Members for Selby (Mr. Grogan) and for City of York (Hugh Bayley) all argued that the legislation on restricting smoking in public places should go as far as tonight's votes allow.
However, my hon. Friends Stephen Pound and for Tyne Bridge (Mr. Clelland), and the hon. Members for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) and for Birmingham, Yardley (John Hemming), all felt that there should be more compromise on the matter. If I heard them correctly, the hon. Members for Christchurch (Mr. Chope), for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) and for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) said that there should not be legislation in this area at all.
This is an historic debate. We are celebrating this week the 100th anniversary of the parliamentary Labour party. It is fair to say that many of the most challenging pieces of health legislation over the past century have been introduced in the short periods of Labour government. We hope to serve for much longer in the 21st century, but I am pleased and proud to be here this evening to endorse and put into law for the first time proposals that will restrict smoking in public places. As far as I am aware, the Opposition, despite what they say, had no intention of introducing similar measures if they had won the general election.
My hon. Friend has described the long path that we have followed over the past decade and more. Is she aware that it is 40 years since the lead story in the Daily Mirror was headlined "Shock plan to ban smoking in public"? There was a Labour Government at the time, and there have been at least two others in our progress to this point. It is an historic matter to get from that headline to the public health improvements that the Bill will secure.
It is another triumph of this new Labour Government.
I turn now to the specifics of the amendments. Amendment (b) deals with specialist tobacconists, for which I said in Committee I was minded to include an exemption. However, that should be tackled in regulations. I reject amendment No. 8, which would remove clauses 1 to 12, as that would effectively kill the premise on which the Bill is based. The view of the public is increasingly that we should take legal measures to restrict smoking in public places.
The hon. Member for Christchurch mentioned prisons. We are working with the Home Office to determine how to make progress in that respect, but I remind the House that some prisons are smoke-free. Prisons are places of detainment and also residence, so we must strike a balance.
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley tabled amendment No. 10, which would permit local authorities to license and designate premises. The Government believe that a piecemeal approach is inappropriate, as we want a national approach to creating smoke-free places. That is the ideal, but I give credit to those local authorities around the country who have campaigned strongly and made their views known to the Government.
Several hon. Members spoke about amendment No. 6, which deals with private vehicles. Six Standing Committee sittings were devoted to the smoking parts of the Bill, and I made it clear that there was no intention to require vehicles in exclusively private use to be smoke-free. Clause 5(2)(d) makes provision for regulations that may exempt classes of vehicles, including private or rental cars hired for private use. The Bill's regulation-making powers are more than adequate to exempt vehicles for private use.
No, but the hon. Gentleman can see me later. We can talk about the regulations. [Laughter.]
Amendment No. 36 is hard to understand. It seems to be intended to limit the premises that may be exempted from smoke-free legislation to those where a person has his home, or licensed premises and membership clubs. I am worried that it would remove the general regulation-making power in clause 3(1), which takes account of the fact that people who, for example, work on oil rigs are not able to smoke outdoors for reasons of safety. Likewise, if the amendment were adopted, no exemption could be made for laboratories concerned with testing tobacco products. That would mean that the tobacco companies would not be able to test their products, as the law requires.
Government amendment No. 24 extends the fixed-penalty notice provisions in part 1 of the Bill to the offence of failing to display no-smoking signs, in accordance with the requirements set out in regulations. However, in light of the responses that we received last year, we will add the option of a fixed-penalty notice for the offence of failing to display those signs.
After the debate in Committee, and as a result of lobbying from various organisations and groups, I am minded to propose that the fines for failing to display no-smoking signs should be raised from a maximum of £200 to a fine not exceeding level 3, which has a maximum of £1,000. I propose to raise the fine for the offence of failing to prevent smoking in smoke-free places from a maximum of £200 to a maximum of £2,500. That sends the strong message to those responsible for enforcing the law that they should make sure that they do so.
The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire tabled amendment (i), aimed at protecting children from second-hand smoke in private members' clubs. However, I am perplexed by his argument: first he said that the members of those clubs should be able to decide what happens in their space, but then his amendment seemed to want to tell parents what they should do with their children in those private spaces. That is another demonstration of how the Conservatives are all over the place on this issue.
I shall finish by recapping on how the new clause and our amendments will work and the choice they offer Members—[Interruption.]
Conservative Members were shouting, "Boring"; I suppose that it is boring to try to save lives—[Hon. Members: "Oh!"] I thought that we were in a new Cameron era that was not about yah-boo politics, but there we go.
We have heard a wide range of arguments about the merits of the various options that the Government have proposed in the new clause and the amendments. I hope that the second reading of new clause 5 will be a formality. We shall then turn to the amendments to the new clause. As it stands, the new clause allows exemptions for membership clubs but not for licensed premises. Members who believe that private members' clubs should also be smoke-free should vote to accept the amendments tabled in my name. Those who want them to be exempted should vote against.
Once the amendments to the new clause have been dealt with, we shall vote on the new clause itself, either as drafted or as amended. Regardless of any amendments that may be passed, the main point of the new clause is to prevent any exemption for licensed premises so if Members believe that all pubs, bars, nightclubs and so on should be smoke-free, they should vote for new clause 5. However, if they support clause 3, they should vote against it. Amendments Nos. 18, 19, 20 and 21 are consequential to new clause 5.
The debate has represented a huge range of views on both sides of the House and has reflected the views held by the public.
Will my hon. Friend explain whether the Government's definition of "substantially enclosed" would include the outside areas of an establishment that served food and drink?
We discussed that issue in Committee, and it was felt that it could be dealt with in regulations. We considered whether some areas—for example, the concourse of a railway terminus—which are substantially but not wholly enclosed, should be smoke-free. There are other examples, but we felt it right that such issues should be sorted out through regulation. They have been raised with me and others, and we shall look at them case by case.
The hon. Gentleman raised points about substantially enclosed and semi-enclosed premises in Committee, and I am still considering whether some of those areas, including vehicles, should be subject to affirmative resolution. We shall hold full public consultation on all aspects of the regulations, so there will be a chance for everybody in the House and outside to make their views known.
This week, we launched a new advertising campaign to show the impact of smoking on people's lives, especially the relatives of smokers. I am grateful that Trudi and her daughters were willing to take part in our campaign. Trudi is dying from lung cancer and, with her daughters of 17 and 11, is already making plans for her funeral. It is important that we realise that smoking affects not only the individual who smokes but those who have to breathe in their smoke as well as those who suffer the devastation of losing someone because of a smoking-related illness.
The adverts are harrowing and challenging, but alongside them we have launched a series of adverts to bring to our screens examples of two ordinary people who have taken up the NHS "stop smoking" services, which have never previously been available in that form. The Government realise that the issue is not simply about restrictions in public places, but about providing our health service with funds to help people give up in difficult circumstances, because for many of them smoking is an addiction.
I am proud that since 1997 we have not only taken measures to control cigarette advertising but, for the first time, provided, through the health service, opportunities for people to give up not just once but to try again if they fail. Today, we are debating legislation that will make a huge contribution to the public health of our nation. If the Bill is successful in the other place, I look forward to working with every Member of the House to ensure that in every constituency, there will be opportunities for people to take advantage of the restrictions to make choices about changing their smoking habits that will affect not just them but everybody they work or live with and everyone they care for.
Most Members share that aim and there is no doubt that our debates over the past eight months have contributed to a huge public debate, which is good. Often, there is not much discussion in the public domain of what we do in this place, so if that is a sign of positive democracy it is to be welcomed.
However, the task does not end with passing the Bill and introducing restrictions; 95 per cent. of deaths from cancer are among people exposed to smoking in the home. The Bill is not the end of something, but the start of trying to persuade smokers to give up and to give them every possible support.
I am pleased that Members on the Opposition Front Benches have moved on the issue—[Interruption.] The Tory manifesto was against bringing in legislation, so there has been another period of reflection and consultation. It is always pleasing when the Tories chase Labour to catch up on progressive politics.
Our manifesto was clear. We wanted a voluntary, self-regulatory solution but with legislative back-up, so it actually presaged legislation on our part.
A voluntary self-regulation system. We have heard it from the hon. Gentleman's own mouth.
Tonight, we have the opportunity to do the right thing, to do the Labour thing: to vote for health and progress, to show that the Labour Government are always at the forefront of issues that mean something to everybody in the country. As it is
Question accordingly agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Speaker then proceeded to put forthwith the remaining Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.
Amendment proposed to the proposed new clause: (a), in line 9, leave out paragraph (b).—[Caroline Flint.]
Question put, That the amendment be made:—
The House divided: Ayes 384, Noes 184.
Question accordingly agreed to.
Amendments made: (b), in line 13, after first 'of' insert '(a)'.
(c), in line 15, at end insert—
'(b) premises in respect of which a club premises certificate (within the meaning of section 60 of that Act) has effect.'
(d), in line 19, leave out subsection (5).—[Caroline Flint.]
Motion made, and Question put, That the clause, as amended, be added to the Bill:—
The House divided: Ayes 413, Noes 129.