John Simkin Posted October 28, 2004 Share Posted October 28, 2004 A report on passive smoking is currently being withheld by the government. According to the doctors who wrote the report, it clearly states that the evidence suggests a clear link between passive smoking and cancer. It also recommends a ban on smoking in public places like pubs and restaurants. It seems strange that this should happen at a time when the government is discussing the possible legislation on this matter. Could this be something to do with Tony Blair’s relationship with British American Tobacco (BAT). Four years ago documents were leaked to a national newspaper that showed that BAT was involved in selling cigarettes in a way that avoided paying taxes (smuggling). Stephen Byers, trade secretary, decided to launch an investigation into this scandal. This included the seizing of company files, and forcing employees to be questioned on oath. Martin Broughton, head of BAT, asked to have a meeting with Byers. He refused. BAT responded by employing two former senior Department of Trade and Industry officials as consultants (Nicola Shears and Ray Mingay). These men then arranged a secret breakfast meeting with Tony Blair and Martin Broughton. Byers was also ordered to attend. Soon afterwards Byers dropped the idea of a public inquiry. Instead, a private inquiry was launched under Section 447 of the Companies Act. When Ash (the anti-smoking pressure group) heard the news asked for a meeting with Blair and Byers. This idea was rejected. If the inquiry had produced a damaging report, it would have opened the door to lawsuits from foreign governments cheated of taxes. It is now four years since the investigation under Section 447 took place. After questions were raised in the House of Commons, Patricia Hewitt, the new trade secretary, announced that the investigation found insufficient evidence for legal action. The report will not be published and so it is impossible to check the genuineness of the investigation. Is Blair the most corrupt prime minister we have had since David Lloyd George? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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