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Anti-smoking bill crosses commons hurdle

HARROW West MP Gareth Thomas has won the first round in his bid to ban smoking in cafes and restaurants.

MPs voted on Monday last week to back his bill by 115 votes to 43. It will receive its second reading on July 11.

Mr Thomas said: "Legislation to ban smoking in restaurants is long overdue. It should be a basic health and safety requirement on restaurant owners. I am pleased that the bill got past its first stage, and that it accepted by more than 100 MPs."

Miles Quest, spokesman for the Restaurant Association, said that it would prefer a voluntary code of conduct rather than a legal ban.

"I don't know yet if we will be opposing the ban, but we are not in favour of it," he said.

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