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I voted for smoking ban but I wouldn't vote for it again, says Labour MP

Mon 8th August, 2011

A Labour MP has admitted that, if she had a second chance, she wouldn't vote for the smoking ban again.

Writing in The Times, Natascha Engel, MP for North East Derbyshire and chairman of the Backbench Business Committee, said:

When I was canvassing during the general election, an ex-miner opened the door and shouted at me about immigration, MPs' expenses and the smoking ban. He asked why I wouldn't come down to the miners' welfare and hear what people had to say there. Before I could respond, he shouted: "Because you're scared, that's why."

I arranged to meet him there that night. He was surprised when I turned up, but friendly enough. When we stood outside, smoking in the rain, he told me about his father-in-law, who used to come to the welfare every night and spend all evening drinking one pint of Guinness. He was a chain smoker. Since the smoking ban he's never been back.

"He can't stand outside in the rain like this. He's an old man." He told me about how his father-in-law never goes out any more. "He's lonely and miserable. And he still chain smokes." I voted for the smoking ban because I was convinced that smoking, even secondary smoking, is bad for you. If I had a second chance I wouldn't vote for the ban again.

Source: The Times (8 August 2011)

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