London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced he will not introduce a smoking ban in public parks, despite his office having floated the idea earlier today. The Mayor of London allowed his health advisers to propose the ban, but after criticism from the conservative right, including on Breitbart London, he backed down.
He told the Evening Standard: “One of the glories of London is that we are generally pretty laissez-faire about how people live their lives – provided they do not break the law and provided they do no harm to others,” he said.
“If we were to consider a ban on smoking in parks, we would need pretty clear evidence that this would have direct health benefits – in other words, that it would actually save lives.”
But smokers might not have long to wait for Labour to implement the ban anyway. One of the contenders for the party’s London mayoral nomination has said she would implement the ban if elected.
Dame Tessa Jowell said that the report by leading surgeon Ara Darzi should be taken seriously.
She said: “If you are asking somebody of Ara Darzi’s eminence and reputation to conduct an investigation like this, you have got to have a pretty good reason for not accepting it if you want to improve the health of Londoners.
“The recommendations are all grounded in evidence and have public support – 59 per cent are in favour of a ban. Lord Darzi has looked at the very radical proposals that Mayor Bloomberg introduced in New York. These have been tried and tested. Similar protections should be offered to Londoners.
“If I were Mayor of London, promoting the health of Londoners would be one of the key areas I would want to act on.”
Smoking is increasingly a battle between left and right, as bans are seen as a way of the state telling people how to live their lives.