Time for Reid to butt out

It looks as if the intervention of Scottish MP John Reid to water down the smoking ban legislation has alerted even the BBC and Labour backbenchers to England’s democratic deficit.

John Reid’s constituents are going to get comprehensive protection against secondary smoke on 26 March next year but he’s telling me that people in the Rother Valley are going to have a lesser one and I find that very difficult to accept and many other Labour backbenchers do as well," fumed Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron, who chairs the Commons health select committee.

Some Labour MPs are even threatening to rebel against the smoking bill in an attempt to prevent it becoming law. (BBC News)

Naturally, there’s plenty of good stuff on this over at the Campaign for an English Parliament blog, where Gareth links to a letter from the Guardian which sums the situation up neatly:

Let me see if I’ve got this right: the MP for St Helens South, in his role as health minister for Northern Ireland, has banned all smoking in pubs in the province, but the people in his own constituency will still be exposed to other people’s smoke in pubs because the MP for Airdrie and Shotts has in effect vetoed similar legislation for England, while his constituents north of the border will experience a total ban because the policy in Scotland has been devolved to the Scottish parliament. And we lecture the world on democracy.
Colin Burke
Manchester (Guardian Unlimited)

Meanwhile over at Slugger O’Toole, Belfast Gonzo is also up in arms:

THE fiasco over the introduction of a smoking ban in the UK doesn’t just show how the Government is in complete disarray on the issue, it demonstrates the level of contempt it has for Northern Ireland. Announcing the ban here earlier this month, the Health Minister (a heavy smoker until recently) said “no-one has a right to subject colleagues and workmates to the dangers and hazards of second-hand smoke and passive smoking. No-one has a right to subject members of the public who do not smoke to those same dangers in enclosed public spaces.” So if that’s true, why not introduce it in England? (Slugger O’Toole)

Looks like a case of deja vu all over again, and given the Government’s reduced majority, this is an issue that won’t go away.







2 responses to “Time for Reid to butt out”

  1. Smoking-Fanatics avatar

    It’s like before the ban: Some decide about the live of millions of non-smokers.
    Because one smoker or one politican is interolent or addicted, the liberty of the public is blown away.
    It’s about freedom of choice – no one is forced to breathe second-hand smoke and everybody can smoke at everytime (only need is to take one step outside for some seconds). This partial bans keeps the free decision and health of staff away; and non-smokers are continued to discriminated: only because they have decided not to smoke, they cannot enter most of pubs and clubs without a cut of their rights and the big risk of cancer.
    Staff and guests are not free to choose to stop breathing, but smokers are free to choose to smoke outdoors.
    So non-smokers are forced outside, staff is not protected, and smokers who like to quit, cannot quit because from smoke at nearly every public place in nightlive.

  2. wonkotsane avatar

    Smoking should be banned completely but I won’t go into that here – there’s enough about that at my blog.
    What irritates me is that a Scottish MP from a Scottish constituency is allowed to vote in this English legislation. Not only vote but effectively veto a full ban in favour of a partial one. His constituents will be getting a full ban under the Scottish Parliament in which no English MP was permitted to vote.
    We need to boot the Scottish Raj out of England but nobody offers a solution. Labour are happy to keep the status quo because it discriminates against England. The Lib Dems want ineffective regional assemblies which will be bent to the will of the Raj and the Tories want English Votes on English Matters which could never work. Anything that costs money in England will reduce the block grant to Scotland so they will have a right to vote in English only legislation.

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