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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 6:00 pm on 14th February 2006.

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Photo of John Grogan John Grogan Labour, Selby 6:00 pm, 14th February 2006

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.