Stephen Williams, friend or foe?
Friday, April 17, 2015 at 15:00
Simon Clark

Between now and the General Election on May 7 I'm going to highlight 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.

#4 - Bristol West
Former chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health (run by ASH), Lib Dem candidate Stephen Williams is one of Britain's most committed anti-smoking politicians. On a personal level I quite like him. Against that he's a strong advocate of plain packaging and helped launch the Plain Packs Protect campaign in 2012. In 2013 his enthusiastic support for smoking bans and other tobacco control policies was recognised by the World Health Organisation which presented him with a special award, at which point he declared he'd like to be public health minister! Stranger things have happened.

2010 majority: 11,366 (20.5%)
Estimated number of smokers in Bristol West: 16,500*
Closest opponent: Labour
Friend or foe: Foe
Target rating: Not impregnable but should hold on

*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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