Rookverbod heeft het moeilijk in Hogerhuis

Afgelopen donderdag is in het Britse Hogerhuis (Engelse Eerste Kamer) de nieuwe wet behandeld die roken in de Engelse pubs en restaurants moet gaan verbieden. Voordat de wet in werking kan gaan zal die hier ook eerst goedgekeurd moeten worden.

We ontvingen vandaag een verslag van die bijeenkomst van een Engelse pub-eigenaar die zeer nauw bij de strijd tegen die wet betrokken is. Het blijkt dat er veel stemmen opgaan in het Hogerhuis om de wet terug te sturen naar het Lagerhuis om deze grondig te laten amenderen en veel meer uitzonderingen toe te staan, waarbij ventilatie als oplossing een grote rol kan spelen.

Omdat de Lords het idee hebben dat er erg veel mankeert aan de wet willen ze er langer over vergaderen. Dat zal zeker nog een paar dagen in de volgende week zijn. Voordat er enige concrete aanwijzingen voor de uitvoering van de wet zijn is het, volgens ingewijden, al gauw october. Anderen pleiten al voor een uitstel van het rookverbod met twee jaar.

…. the majority of the Lords were, in essence, on our side and hey made it VERY obvious that they plan to put through amendments to the Bill.

Lord Stoddart, once again, was a diamond “geezer”and between him, Lord Naseby and Lord Skidelski, they tore the others apart (in my opinion) David Steele, who I hadn’t seen initially, was a big surprise to me, and I think, everyone else. He has proposed the amendment to include ventilation and segregation. At this point, there was a quiet cheer from the back of the room which housed myself and about 8 others, most of whom appeared  to be in attendance for the same reason as us.

During the proceedings, Palmer left his seat and came toddling over toward me, he gave me a knowing look and then whispered something to the guy in front of me, who t turned round and said that he knew who I was and that he had heard that “we” had been doing amazing things. He turned out to be John Carlisle, who is a political and media consultant and, (I think) and ex Tory MP. At the point where the question of Ventilation was brought up, Lord Stoddart looked at me and winked – I thought that was really nice! What a cute guy!!

Throughout the debate, it became very clear that the majority of the Grand Committee want to slam the Bill from all directions and it was David Steele who brought up the Nanny State question.

Lords Brooke, Geddes, Monson and, of course Earl Howe all joined in with Stoddart, Naseby and Skidelski in putting an incredibly good case to have the Bill returned to “The Other Place” for reasonable amendments to be made.

Lord S continually slammed down the opposition when they called for him to “Shut Up” – He would have none of it and told them so in no uncertain terms. Lord Warner was visibly angry and upset that he was never going to be able to deliver the Bill back to HMG in its current form. Debate got a bit heated from time to time and you could see rel anger in the faces of both sides.

After  the debate finished, Lords S and P came to see me – P told me that they have only scratched the surface today and that they were supposed to get through 50 amendments. This is going to be a protracted debate and looks certain to go on for several weeks.

Lord S was still very angry when we came out –  he wanted to carry on for longer and told me that, during all the Grand Committees that he has previously attended, he has never known one to become so blatantly hostile. He told me that normally, during debate there would be a more lighthearted approach, but the Health Minister was clearly worried about the opposition being put forward today.

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