DORSET MPs have, mostly, given their votes on whether to ban children from smoking or not. 

Rishi Sunak’s proposal to ban young people from ever being able to legally smoke tobacco has cleared its first Commons hurdle, despite a swathe of Conservative MPs objecting to it in a blow to his authority. 

The legislation, seen by the Prime Minister as a key part of his long-term legacy, would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1 2009, with the aim of creating a “smoke-free” generation.  

MPs voted 383 to 67, majority 316, to give the Tobacco and Vapes Bill a second reading. 

Bournemouth Echo: Giles Watling said retail workers found the proposed generational ban ‘frightening’ (Jonathan Brady/PA)

 It does not criminalise current smokers, but is aimed at preventing the harms caused by smoking, the leading causes of preventable illness and death in the UK. 

Conservative MPs were given a free vote on the Bill, meaning those who voted against the Government’s position will not face punishment. 

How did our MPs vote: 

Sir Conor Burns, Bournemouth West MP, and Sir Robert Syms, MP for Poole, both had no recorded vote. 

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, and Michael Tomlinson, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, and Simon Hoare, of North Dorset, all voted in favour of the government’s ban. 

Meanwhile Christchurch MP Sir Chris Chope and New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne both voted against the bill. 

Mr Ellwood said on Twitter/X: “This is an historic milestone for the nation’s health in preventing anyone born after Jan 2009 from legally buying cigarettes. 

“The addictive nature of smoking means this debate was not about individual choice.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Tobias EllwoodTobias Ellwood

The division list showed 57 Conservative MPs voted against giving the Tobacco and Vapes Bill a second reading, while 178 voted to support it. 

Among those voting against were Ms Badenoch, Mr Jenrick, Ms Truss, Mr Clarke-Smith, former home secretary Suella Braverman and former housing secretary Sir Simon Clarke. 

Several serving ministers also voted against, including Cabinet Office minister Alex Burghart, Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker, culture minister Julia Lopez and communities minister Lee Rowley. 

Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the House of Commons, was among 106 Tory MPs listed as having “no vote recorded”. 

Not all those listed in this way will have abstained, as some will have received permission to miss the vote. 

Other Conservative former ministers supported the plans, with ex-health secretary Sir Sajid Javid criticising colleagues for “choosing to stand up for big tobacco against the interest of their constituents”. 

Steve Brine, Conservative chairman of the Health Affairs Committee, suggested small-state Tories should back the measures to eliminate costs for the taxpayer. 

“If you are a Conservative and a smaller state is your thing… you should be right behind a healthier society, one that needs the state less, one that relies on the state less, one that costs the state less,” he said. 

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting confirmed Labour’s “wholehearted” support to the Bill, and added his party is “only too happy to defend the Health Secretary against the siren voices of big tobacco” gathered on the Tory benches. 

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said she understood colleagues’ concerns about freedom of choice, and conceded Conservatives were “not in the habit of banning things”, but warned the Commons there was “no liberty in addiction”. 

“Nicotine robs people of their freedom to choose. The vast majority of smokers start when they are young, and three-quarters say that if they could turn back the clock they would not have started,” she added.