Bad news for anyone who thinks the smoking ban could be amended under the Government's Your Freedom initiative
By Jonathan Isaby
Above is a video update from the Deputy Prime Minister on the Your Freedom consultation in which members of the public are suggesting which laws should be repealed.
But for anyone who thought that amending the smoking ban could form part of the Great Repeal Bill, there is bad news from Mr Clegg.
Whilst he says that the Government will be considering some ideas "very actively straight away" - such as looking at the vetting and barring scheme, the DNA database and the use of CCTV - he adds:
"Of course there are other suggestions which aren't going to be taken up by this government... the introduction of the death penalty or changing the smoking ban; but at least the debate is now really alive."
I imagine there will be considerable disappointment in many quarters that the idea of amending the smoking ban is lumped together with restoration of the death penalty in the mind of the Deputy Prime Minister when it comes to ideas that he rejects out of hand.
One reader, Peter Thurgood, has emailed me expressing his anger:
"What sort of hypocritical double-talk is this? The amendment of the smoking ban has been one of the most popular ideas to have been put forward on the Your Freedom website. The general consensus has been not to overturn the ban completely, but to amend it, allowing separate venues for smoking as well as non-smoking.
"A significant 25% of the population smoke, and feel quite rightly that their rights have been taken away from them by this very unpopular law. They have the backing of many MPs and with the Your Freedom website promising to look at their views, thought that here they had the voice of fairness at least willing to look at what they were asking for. But now Nick Clegg has taken away, in one minute sentence, any hope they had of fairness.
"The Your Freedom website is therefore nothing more than a complete falsehood. It allows people to believe that their views on the smoking ban were to be read and possibly looked into. The website even has a section clearly marked “Smoking”. Why is this section there if Mr Clegg has no intentions of even looking at it?"