I can’t claim we weren’t expecting it. All reports had suggested today’s vote in the House of Commons on plain packaging for tobacco products would pass. But when we heard the news, and the full extent of Conservative MPs voting in favour of this illiberal measure became clear, we were gutted.
We believe that freedom of choice and individual responsibility are key amongst the values that make society better for everyone. We believe that every man (and woman) should live according to his own judgement. And that government should be small, with a purpose to serve people & their liberty – not tell them what to do or try to micro-manage their lives.
Yes, smoking is harmful. I advise you not to do it. But show me an adult in Britain who does not know the harm! This is not a matter of ignorance or people being coerced into smoking. This is about adults, in full possession of the facts, choosing to smoke because they enjoy it.
Public health campaigners and now, I despair at it, Conservative MPs, don’t like that. Let’s think about what that means. Government is working against individual choice and legal business just because it disapproves of the activity some people are choosing. This should concern everyone who wants to live by their own judgements and choices, not just smokers.
Conservatives for Liberty is formed of people who are passionate defenders of freedom and liberty. We think that our ideals have the best and most promising home in the Conservative Party. We continue to believe that. But this vote has shown us how steep the hill to climb and how hard the battle to fight are going to be.
Today we are ashamed of the MPs who stand with the name Conservative and yet voted for this illiberal measure.
And we thank those – listed below – who voted as true Conservatives, and voted in line with the principles of freedom and liberty.
de Bois, Nick