The vote in favour of plain packaging for cigarettes

The House of Commons has voted in favour of making cigarette-packaging completely plain (and indeed this bill is going through the final stages in the House of Lords today). The vote itself was fascinating – it was a free vote with a huge number of Tory MPs rebelling against the party line by voting against the motion or abstaining from the vote (181 of them in total!).

Cameron was keen to point out that, as a free vote, this was not really a rebellion. However this excellent article from the Independent suggests that one in four of those who did vote against the motion, from any party, actually has declared links to the tobacco industry. In addition to being a useful example of Parliament and Parties, it also shows the strength of pressure groups and lobbying, with ASH celebrating the vote whilst Imperial Tobacco (the UK’s biggest cigarette manufacturer) said it would sue the government to defend it’s intellectual property rights.