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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tony Blair's smoking gun

If this report in the Observer this morning is right then the Prime Minister may well be taking an important stand on principle. Yes, I had to read that twice as well.

The Welsh Assembly has already voted for a complete ban on smoking in public places on health and safety grounds. We are anticipating that a soon-to-be published Health Bill will propose giving us the powers to implement that ban.

When the Committee to investigate smoking in public places was looking at this issue we were very clear that the sort of partial ban being mooted by the UK Government was both unworkable and will do nothing to protect the health of employees. If the Prime Minister has now come round to our point of view then that is very welcome. It will mean a more consistent regime across the whole of the UK and it will make it easier for us to implement our ban on our eastern borders.

Update: In the end then Tony backed down and opted for a half-hearted measure. Even on this issue he has no courage in his convictions. The good news is that the Assembly will be getting the power to do its own thing. Let us hope that we do not fail the test and that in Wales at least the health of workers is protected regardless of whether food is being served.
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