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New Clause 5 — Smoke-free premises: exemptions

Part of Orders of the Day — Health Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 14th February 2006.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 5:45 pm, 14th February 2006

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.