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Boris Johnson calls Rishi Sunak's tobacco phase-out plan 'absolutely crazy' | Politics | News

Boris Johnson calls Rishi Sunak's tobacco phase-out plan 'absolutely crazy' |  Politics |  News


Boris Johnson has called Rishi Sunak's plan to phase out tobacco completely crazy.

The former prime minister sided with Tory rebels, threatening to vote against Mr Sunak's flagship smoking policy.

Speaking at an event in Canada, Mr Johnson said: “We are, on the whole, in favor of liberty and it is this unique Anglo-Saxon idea of ​​liberty which, in my view, unites conservatives, or should unite conservatives.

And when I look at some of the things that we're doing now, or that are being done in the name of conservatism, I think they're absolutely crazy.

When Winston Churchill's party wants to ban cigars, give me a break as they say in Quebec, it's simply crazy.

The Prime Minister's proposed law would prevent anyone aged 15 this year, or before, from being able to legally purchase tobacco products.

A similar law was due to come into force in New Zealand in July, but was repealed by the country's new coalition government in February.

Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “I understand Boris’s frustration. With time remaining before the general election, we urgently need to show voters we understand their priorities. This is a question that has never been raised at the door.

“The people I talk to want conservative policies; they want us to stop the boats, reduce immigration, bring law and order to our communities, and make life more affordable for working people.

“It is on these areas that we must concentrate our efforts, without infringing too much on the individual freedoms of adult taxpayers.

Mr Sunak announced the plan at the Conservative Party conference last year and presented it as part of his political legacy. Speaking at a gathering of Conservatives in Ottawa, Mr Johnson suggested his party lacked the dynamism of its Canadian counterparts, who appear on track to win the next election.

Rumors have swirled around Westminster that Mr Johnson could return to the campaign trail in this year's general election in a bid to revive Tory poll numbers, particularly in the Red Wall, North and Midlands.

But his comments at the Canada Strong and Free Networking conference Wednesday evening appeared to make that prospect less likely, as he criticized policies implemented in the name of conservatism.

Mr Sunak's flagship policy, backed by Labour, is expected to be put to a free vote when MPs debate the bill for the first time on April 16.

Speaking before the bill was introduced last month, Mr Sunak said: If we want to build a better future for our children, we must tackle the biggest entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability and death: smoking.




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