Fight my way through stack of Valentine cards on mat – and into work and into the (House of Commons) chamber for the smoking debate. It’s a free vote – and we have all come to whatever conclusion we have come to. I listened to part of the debate and it was interesting – especially the question of liberty to smoke versus liberty to not be damaged by other people’s smoke. And on and on. One impassioned and incredibly witty speech came from Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing. He gave a robust and humorous defence of a human being’s right to go to hell in their own way. At one point he referred to one of his colleague’s request to intervene thus: ‘I feel him gnawing on my vitals’.
Sitting across the chamber on the LibDem benches I muttered under my breath ‘what an awful thought’. The debate went on – and then the votes. I voted for a complete ban as I just think an individual should have the right to do whatever they wish – so long as they don’t harm anyone. In this case – people are being harmed – so that’s that. There was a huge vote in favour of a complete ban.
Later that evening, another Labour member who had been sitting in the chamber came up to me and said, ‘I liked your comment’. ‘What comment?’ I said, ‘I didn’t speak in the smoking debate’. ‘No – not a speech – your comment about Pound’s vitals’. Blush – I did. You wouldn’t have thought it would have carried that far!