Daily Mail

Truss was smokin’! Even though she takes a while to catch light and can leave an acrid taste


LIZ Truss was smokin’! not many others will be, though. The former PM, whose government lasted little longer than a box of Montecrist­o cigars, led criticism of Rishi Sunak’s next-generation smoking ban.

It ‘infantilis­ed people’ and was ‘emblematic of a technocrat­ic establishm­ent that wants to limit people’s freedoms’.

as orators go, Ms Truss is a damp panatella. She takes a while to catch light and can leave an acrid taste. Yet her speech was the sparkiest moment as the Commons debated the Tobacco and Vapes Bill. This is the rolling ban whereby someone aged 15 or younger this year will never, in their lives, be allowed to buy fags but someone born a year earlier will be free to do so.

In the year 2089 it may be possible to find 80-year-olds loitering outside newsagents’, waiting for their 81-year-old mates to buy them their Marlboro fix.

Ms Truss suggested that ‘ the health police’ would be coming for our sausages next. ‘ The health police!!’ squawked opposition MPs. a Scots nat wailed: ‘I can’t believe I’m hearing this.’ Ms Truss: ‘They ARE the health police.’ Tobacco was today’s banned substance but sugar, alcohol and meat were next on the agenda.

You wouldn’t want to be the person told to deny Kirsten oswald (SNP, East Renfrewshi­re) her saveloy. She might bite.

Back to the Trussette. Flanked by a claque of liberal-minded Tories, she was not against bans per se. She accepted that under-18s needed saving from some things.

Recently she tried to stop doctors prescribin­g puberty-blockers to adolescent­s. labour killed off her private bill on that issue. lefties were all for kids gobbling down puberty-blockers but wouldn’t let them have a gasper. She railed at the ‘finger-wagging, nannying control freaks’ who always thought ‘government knows best’.

Her speech was not heard with universal approbatio­n. Salty Steve Brine (Con, Winchester) was muttering at it like a wino.

He countered the small-government argument with one of his own: freeing youngsters from nicotine addiction would mean they needed the state less because they would not need the NHS to treat them for so many tobaccorel­ated illnesses. not a bad point.

Giles Watling (Con, Clacton), brazen in Garrick club tie, rasped in his tarry, thespian voice that vapes had helped him relinquish ‘the evil weed’. He fretted that the Bill was too anti-vapes. The Secretary of State, Victoria atkins, had opened the debate by claiming that there was one hospital admission every minute of the day caused by smoking.

luke Evans (Con, Bosworth), a doctor who worked on a respirator­y ward, had watched helplessly as patients gasped, struggled and fought for breath. It was not an experience he recommende­d.

MS atkins, a barrister, spoke at one point of life sentences for tobacco smugglers. Blimey. ‘If we ban something we massively increase criminalit­y,’ countered Sir Edward leigh (Con, Gainsborou­gh).

Sir Jake Berry (Con, Rossendale & Darwen) was at aintree last week and saw racegoers openly snort cocaine in front of the police. The coppers didn’t lift a truncheon. aintree sounds to have become nearly as bad as the palace of Westminste­r. Most of the action was on the Tory benches. opposition MPs were scarce, though their parties were supporting the Bill. Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting took 35 minutes to say little of note. He is a shallow item, full of party-political noise and little else. His one interestin­g factoid was that Winston Churchill went through 160,000 cigars in his life.

Mr Streeting claimed that a labour government would not go ban-mad. ‘We’re not going to ban football, rugby and boxing,’ he said magnanimou­sly.

They always say such things at the start. ‘ It’s just the one, promise, I won’t go crazy.’

But slowly it becomes a habit. like any addiction it starts to eats them from inside, does things to their heads. The eyes bulge, they become less attractive and friends start to despair. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when politician­s become hooked on bans.

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