Britain’s Conservatives just agreed the world’s toughest smoking ban. Tory MPs hate it – POLITICO


Blue fury

In the event, 59 Tory MPs voted against the measure at its second reading Tuesday night. Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch — seen as a key contender to become the next leader should the Tories lose the election — was among those in Sunak’s own ministerial ranks voting against the bill, citing what she called “significant concerns.”

Ahead of the crunch, and recognizing the likely opposition from his party, which contains a sizable libertarian caucus, Sunak had offered a free, un-whipped vote. That meant his parliamentary troops could rebel without punishment on a matter of conscience.

The opposition Labour Party, riding high in the polls in an election year, painted the move as a sign of weakness on Sunak’s part. Labour MPs were ordered to vote in favor of the legislation.

Sunak is genuinely set to make history — just don’t expect him to get much thanks for it from his own party. | POOL photo by Benjamin Cremel/Getty Images

In a sign of the psychodrama around the vote, some of the most strident criticism of Sunak’s plan came from the prime minister’s immediate predecessors — each of whom has their own ax to grind with Sunak after years of Tory in-fighting.

Former PM Liz Truss told the BBC the plans were “un-Conservative” — and voted against the bill. She warned MPs during Tuesday’s Commons debate that “the health police” will next move to trying to restrict food or alcohol.

Truss’ predecessor Boris Johnson, no longer an MP, has similarly described the plans as “nuts.”


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