‘Disappointed’ Rishi Sunak has shelved smoking ban but defends decision to take ‘bold action’ | Politics News

The proposal, which would have raised the legal age to buy cigarettes by one year each year, is one of several bills that have not been given the green light in the so-called washout period.

By Alexandra Rogers, political reporter @journoamrogers

Friday 24 May 2024 12:31, United Kingdom

Rishi Sunak has said he is “disappointed” that his flagship plan to phase out smoking has been shelved due to the impending general election.

The prime minister said the proposal, which would have banned anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, from buying tobacco, was an example of the “bold action” he was willing to take as a leader.

The ban, announced last year, would effectively raise the legal age to buy cigarettes in England one year every year, until it is applied to the entire population.

The policy to create a “smoke-free generation” was seen as defining Mr Sunakof the premiership and caused controversy within conservative ranks, particularly in the more libertarian wing of the party.

The Tobacco and E-Cigarettes Bill, which contains measures to phase out smoking and would also have imposed restrictions on e-cigarettes, is one of several bills that will not be stamped before parliament is extended later today and formally dissolved on May 30.

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Other bills that have been shelved include the Tenant Reform Billhe Criminal Justice Bill and the Football Governance Bill and the legislation failed to pass the House of Commons in the remaining days of the washout period, the term used to describe the final days before parliament is dissolved.

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Telling him that “a lot of what you wanted to achieve is slipping away”, the Prime Minister said: “Well, there is always a normal process at the end of a parliament to see what legislation can be passed in the remaining time.” available.

“And the smoking ban, of course, disappointed that we couldn’t get it done at the end of the session given the time available,” he told reporters in Belfast.

“But what I would say is that this is evidence of the bold action I am prepared to take – that is the kind of prime minister I am.

“I stepped forward to do something bold”

“That’s the kind of leadership I bring. I stepped up to do something bold that will make a huge difference for the future of our country.”

Sunak cited bills that had been passed by parliament, including postal crime bill which seeks to overturn the convictions of the subpostmasters who were victims of the Horizon IT scandal.

It is also likely that the Victims and Prisoners Bill, which contains measures to compensate victims of infected blood scandal, It will also pass.

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Sunak also challenged his Labor opponent, Sir Keir Starmerto participate in television debates during the general election campaign.

Read more:
Starmer calls Sunak ‘desperate’ and says ‘of course there will be TV debates’
Rishi, the ‘underdog’, must step out of his comfort zone to convey his message

Sir Keir, who is in Glasgow this morning for the launch of his party’s campaign in Scotland, has been accused of “cowering” during weekly clashes during the election campaign. a charge he has denied.

“I think what the British people want are answers,” Sunak said.

“I am very happy to be debating with Keir Starmer so I can set out what I want to do for this country, taking bold action, working towards a clear plan and delivering a secure future for all.

“I want to debate with him and I hope he accepts the offer.”

The Prime Minister was also asked if he would welcome his predecessor Boris Johnson joining the Conservatives on the campaign trail, to which he replied: “I would welcome any Conservative to come and join the campaign.

“And I have been in contact with Boris in the past. I am very proud of the work we did together.”

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