Thursday, 28 January 2010

One Rule For Them ...

Tuesday in Westminster. North Devon MP, Nick Harvey, describing bar facilities, and more, available to Members of Parliament ... but not to anyone else in the country.

Members and their guests have access to all the bar facilities listed above. Also, the Members' Smoking Room is provided for the exclusive use of Members of Parliament (Monday to Tuesday 14.00 to 17.00 and 18.00 to midnight; Wednesday 14.00 to 17.00 and 18.00 to 23.00; Thursday 13.00 to 17.00 and 18.00 to 19.00; closed Fridays).

Can we have a smoking room, Nick?


Anonymous said...

Well this really takes the biscuit does it not.
OK MP's explain why 4000 pubs have gone out of business because of your spitefull whitchunt against smokers.
And don't say cheap supermarket booze.
Or the evil SHS lie.
But it is OK for you to have a seperate room for smoking.
hypocrisy , hypocrisy hypocrisy .
Either repeal the ban or stand out in the cold with everybody else.
burks !
No scum would be a better word.

Brew Wales said...

Seem to remember the Smoking Room is named for historical reasons only and no smoking is now enforced throughout the Palace of Westminster. The Terrace overlooking the Thames and accessed from the Strangers Bar is the preferred smoking area.

Uncle Marvo said...

I'm pretty sure that Brew Wales is right on this one.

I'd be amazed otherwise. There used to be a smoking bit in HP, and I know it wasn't in the gents's bogs, but it got repealed because of public outcry.

I'd be interested to know though.

Please research - I'm going to.

I'll report back here, seeing as nobody reads my blog, sob sob.


Uncle Marvo said...

God, I'm quick.

A written answer, good as fact.

It is not ILLEGAL under STATUE to smoke in the Palace. Therefore one can, with impunity, go and smoke in the Stranger's Bar. God knows what they'd do. They can't use the law against you there as it doesn't apply.

The MPs claim they don't smoke in the Palace. I have put feelers out to see if they actually DO or not. I think I'll get an honest answer. I think I know what it will be, too.

The question to put, should anyone wish to try it under the FOI, is "has anyone smoked tobacco in the interior of the Palace of Westminster since July 2007?"

Nobody will accept responsibility for answering it though, believe me.

Anonymous said...

If it is not illegal they will be doing it - probably in their offices. I would be.

subrosa said...

You are quick Marvo. Well done.

Why doesn't this surprise me? Because it's true what you say Dick, one rule for them.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Brew Wales: So nothing like the smoking lounges at the G20 summit, or the smoking room I enjoyed in the EU building, then? ;-)

Anon: Indeed. They could be snitched upon, but would you fancy the chances of an EHO getting past security to inspect the offices without lengthy vetting and clearance procedures?

Uncle Marvo said...

The EU banned it too, IINVMM. The difference there, compared to the Palace, is that the EU is formed of many nations, and a couple of them persisted in smoking, regardless of the ban. One was the Greek bloke, I can't remember the other. I seem to remember (the branes are rusty these days) that it was banned for some time in the order of 50 days; subsequently the ban had to be lifted as it was becoming a laughing stock.

The "offices" (Anonymous) are in Portcullis House, and that is not part of the Palace (again, IINVMM, E&OE, etc).

JJ said...

Would like to see some more info on this one DP, I wrote to my MP Paddy (pit tip) Tipping…and he wrote back thus.

29 July 2008

Dear (Bollock Brain)

Thank you for your email of 28th July. Smoking is not allowed in the Strangers Bar. I enclose a copy of a Written Answer in the House of Commons in June 2007, which details clearly the outside areas where smoking is allowed.

Yours faithfully,
Paddy Tipping, MP

The answer in question came from Nick Harvey to Mr Dai Davies.

‘…the Commission has decided that smoking should cease to be permitted from 1st July 2007 in all internal areas of the House of Commons estate, including in bars and private offices’.

I had written earlier to Tipping. He wrote back in answer to my question.

17 January 2008

‘…The legislation applies universally. There are no special exceptions in the Palace of Westminster’.

I have asked Tipping questions concerning ‘passive smoking’ which had to be put in a ballot box, then when picked a written answer would be sent to the questioner.

My question has never been answered.

Tipping voted for the smoking ban, and has no intention of changing his mind.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected Marvo, Anon.

Uncle Marvo said...

This will not be unique.

There is a "canopy" outside the shopping centre near me. On all of its pillars it states "It is against the law to smoke under this canopy".

I have smoked under it, Plod-baiting. Plod have approached and pointed out said signage, whereupon I have invited them to arrest me, and to first ensure that they are sure about this "law".

I have never yet been arrested. Not for that, anyway.

"Smoking in the Stranger's Bar is not permitted (or allowed)" is meaningless.

It is not against any laws or statutes, thus I can't see that a penalty can be upheld.

Uncle Marvo said...

I have no reason to believe this video is anything but a revelation of fact. I can see why some would wish it to be set up, but there are things that make it ring true, such as the actual person's name, and the fact that there are no ashtrays.

Perhaps someone can find out.


Anonymous said...

Does anybody know the truth about the G20 smoking lounges. I can't believe Obama stood outside to smoke. The Daily Mail removed an article the day after publication. This is the original link:

Screaming Banshee said...

Of course, if MPs just allowed a common sense amendment to the law, this discussion would be irrelevant, but then MPs would be the same as us peasants and they wouldn't want that, would they?

Sam Duncan said...

Exactly, Marvo. Whether they do smoke or not (or indeed whether it's allowed by the Palace authorities) is beside the point. It's legal, and the Palace has the choice whether or not to allow it, or indeed to take action against anyone who breaks the rules. We don't: “It is illegal to smoke or knowingly allow smoking to take place on these premises”. I always think there's something deeply sinister about the wording on those signs.

Uncle Marvo said...

Sam - they're not stupid. Not in that way, anyway.

They knew that if it was a £50 fine we'd just pay it now and again, like they do in Florida. It's the £2500 (IIRC) that the Landlord or Responsible Person gets copped, together with threatened withdrawal of his licence, that does the enforcing.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Well, would you believe it. Guido has just partly answered some queries put forward during discussions here today.

JJ said...

Better quality debate by far on here DP...a much higher level of discussion...and I kid you not!

Incidentally...we bought Douglas Bader's already stuffed and mounted legs in a glass box from a boot-sale some years ago for (rather overpriced I thought) a tenner.

Went into my shed this morning to drink nostalgically to the legs with my special brew...and guess what...those fucking ungrateful legs have taken a walk - eh, I ask you!

Anonymous said...

One of the first things Nancy C. Pelosi did upon arriving at the US Congress building was to ban all indoor smoking, the same way one of her neo-progressive-illiberal-communist-fascist comrades Hillary C. Clinton banned all smoking at the White House.

Meantime all the Congressmen in the US Congress are permitted to smoke inside their offices, no questions asked - special privileges you see. How many people are permitted to smoke in their office or place of work in many parts of the US and the answer is NONE. All the while, their Congressmen are in Washington DC doing the same thing your MPs are more than likely doing in your Parliament building - and with impunity.

And why pray tell is the UN Building in NYC, another smoke-banned fascist city and under the auspices of the tobacco-hating WHO permitting their delegates to smoke freely indoors in the basement restaurant facilities, yet more flagrant hypocrisy as are the EU MEPs permitted to smoke inside EU dictatorship's headquarters in Brussels.

As for outdoor no smoking signs and inviting the plod to come and arrest, in San Francisco, California and several nearby cities, outdoor smoking bans are already a fact and the signs there say $500 fines, possibly leading to arrest. One can't let all those 80 and 90 year old Chinese ladies and gents smoke outdoors in Nancy C. Pelosi's city by the bay - yet Nancy C. Pelosi's head looks the other way when they do it themselves in Washington DC in the Congress building.

Hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic - and it's disgusting - especially whenever ALL people should have been given a smoking-room if it offended a small handful of righteous persons behaving in a most unGodly manner by depriving others. Ultimately something's got to give or else at some point people are going to be smoking outdoors then and even in the so called smoking-banned zones offering $500 fines and just be thumbing their noses at the old bill for being so damn stupid and hypocritical - which at some point, after the hypocrisy and immorality of the smoking-bans begins to seep in and become common knowledge, it's probably how it will go away - as everyone will just begin ripping down the signs themselves and ignoring it completely - which is as it should be.