Blair to offer MPs free vote on smoking ban

A total ban on smoking in pubs looks increasingly likely following an indication that Tony Blair will offer MPs a free vote in the House of Commons.

The prime minister said chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson was “absolutely right” to call for a complete ban.

Blair made clear that he would grant a free vote because he does not regard the issue as pivotal to his legacy.

“I do not think there is any great point of principle but simply what is the right thing to do,” he said.

Kevin Barron, chairman of the Commons health committee, will set out an amendment to the Bill calling for a total ban unless a free vote is granted.

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