» Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Asked how the Prime Minister would be voting in today’s vote on smoking, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that people would have to wait and see. Since this was a genuinely free vote, we had no intention of pre-empting it for fear of that being seen as an attempt to give a lead to others. The PMOS also took the opportunity to warn journalists not to be surprised if they saw ministers going into different lobbies.

Put to him that the Labour Party could be said to be giving a lead on the issue in the light of what was written in the manifesto, the PMOS said it was clear that smoking would be banned in most public areas, whatever happened. Since the measures had been brought in in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, public opinion had continued to evolve. That was why we had decided some weeks ago to have a free vote on the issue. Put to him that, presumably, the Prime Minister would not be listening to the debate in the House today and whether that meant that he had already made up his mind on how he would vote, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had a view on the issue and would no doubt express it.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Search for related news

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