LONDON, May 23 — Britain’s proposed law to ban smoking for younger generations could be shelved after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election, putting one of his flagship policies in jeopardy as there is only limited time for bills to be made law.

Sunak yesterday called an election for July 4, giving the government just days to complete outstanding legislative business before parliament is dissolved on May 30.

His plan to introduce some of the world’s strictest anti-smoking rules into Britain by banning anyone aged 15 and under from ever buying cigarettes was not specifically mentioned as being on the parliamentary agenda in the next few days.

In his speech calling for the election, Sunak had boasted that his government had ensured the next generation would be “smoke-free”, but that promise now looks to have been made prematurely.


Asked whether his smoking plans could be ditched, he told BBC News today that bills that were going through parliament were being discussed by all parties to see what might be passed quickly before the dissolution.

The bill had passed its first parliamentary hurdle in April despite dozens of lawmakers in Sunak’s Conservative party voting against it.

“I will do everything I can to move these things forward, but it is dependent on the cooperation of other parties across parliament as well,” he said.


Whichever party wins the next election the bill could be reintroduced as the opposition Labour Party, which is ahead in opinion polls, said it would push for a ban if forms the next government. — Reuters