Britain’s Labour government, fresh from last month’s election landslide victory, has excluded its long-promised bill to ban tobacco advertising from an imminent legislative slot.

All but emergency bills for the parliamentary term are announced in the Queen’s speech, a fusty tradition in which the monarch regales parliament with details of the administration’s legislative programme. Notable by its absence is the Tobacco Advertising and Promotions Bill, due to be debated by the last parliament but frozen out by May's general election.

Health minister Yvette Cooper, a vocal proponent of the bill, is said to be seething at the policy U-turn which, political observers predict, will cause a widening fissure within the Blair administration.

Hands aloft in pious indignation, the UK tobacco industry denies any secret deal with the government to delay the bill which, supporters of the ban claim, would reduce National Health Service treatment costs for tobacco-related illnesses by £340 million annually.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)