Parliament Matters

Tobacco and Vapes Bill: free vote blows smoke in Rishi Sunak's eyes

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Episode notes

Rishi Sunak offered his MPs a free vote on his flagship Tobacco and Vapes Bill and dozens concluded they could not support it. As well as exploring the politics of the Bill, Ruth and Mark discuss the concept of a free vote and how they have been deployed in previous parliamentary sessions.

They denounced them at the time, but should Labour Ministers now use the sweeping powers Conservative Ministers have given themselves in this Parliament – for example, in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 - to push through a Labour Government’s agenda in the next? Former adviser to the last Labour Government, John McTernan, has suggested

And we talk to former Foreign Secretary, Lord David Owen who during House of Lords questions this week asked his successor, Lord Cameron, about the prospects for closer co-operation with the French Government over nuclear weapons strategy. It turns out there was a diplomatic initiative behind the question, involving a former French Foreign Secretary. We ask Lord Owen how he thinks Lord Cameron is doing in his old job, and whether he thinks it’s possible to do the job from the House of Lords not the Commons.

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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Producer: Gareth Jones

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