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David Nuttall, friend or foe?

Between now and the General Election on May 7 I'm highlighting my top 40 'target seats', those where the candidate standing for re-election has consistently supported anti-tobacco policies, and those where a leading candidate is a consistent opponent of excessive lifestyle regulations and policies that infantilise us all. With a few exceptions, I'm focussing on marginal or semi-marginal seats.

#3 - Bury North
Elected in 2010 David Nuttall was hailed as a hero by many smokers when one of the first things he did as an MP was to put forward a Ten-Minute Rule Bill to amend the smoking ban. The Bill was rejected by 141-86 but it demonstrated Nuttall's conviction politics. Speaking out against plain packaging, which he considered an extension of the nanny state, he said: "There are those of us who believe it is up to the individual to take personal responsibility for their own health." Ironically, if Nuttall loses his seat (most likely to Labour), it will be the result of Ukip taking a substantial chunk of his vote. Parliament needs more independently-minded MPs like David Nuttall, not less.

2010 majority: 2,243 (5%)
Estimated number of smokers in Bury North: 13,361*
Principal opponent: Labour
Friend or foe: Friend
Target rating: Every vote counts

*Based on 20% of the registered electorate in 2010

Note: marginal seats have been defined as those with majorities of 10% or less that require a swing of 5% for the incumbent party to lose.

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