Between now and the General Election on May 7 I'm highlighting a series of 'target seats', those where the candidate standing for re-election has supported anti-tobacco policies, and those where a leading candidate is an opponent of excessive lifestyle regulations and policies that infantilise us all. With a few exceptions I'm focussing on marginal or semi-marginal seats.
#36 – Keighley
Another conundrum. Kris Hopkins was one of 74 MPs who voted against regulations to introduce a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. His reason: "I am not in favour of bringing forward changes in the law which, in my view, are unenforceable. I don’t believe it is realistic to properly enforce a ban on smoking in cars." At the same time however Hopkins said he would like to ban smoking “full stop”, adding, “And I say that as a former smoker myself.” No surprise then when the communities minister sided with the Government (and Labour) and voted in favour of plain packaging. According to Hopkins, making standardised cigarette packs compulsory was "the responsible and right thing to do". "There is nothing glamorous or exciting about smoking and the packaging cigarettes are sold in should reflect this reality." If Hopkins thinks current packaging is "glamorous" or "exciting" he ought to get out a bit more. With views like that he won't be missed.
2010 majority: 2,940 (6.2%)
Estimated number of smokers in Keighley: 13,174*.
Principal opponents: Labour
Friend or foe: Foe
Target rating: Vulnerable
*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.