Clegg Opposes Law to Ban Smoking in Cars With Children in U.K.

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he opposed a law banning people from smoking in cars with children, after lawmakers backed the move.

Members of the House of Lords voted 222 to 197 late yesterday for an amendment to the Children and Families Bill giving the health secretary the power to make it an offense for a driver to allow anyone to smoke in a vehicle when children are present.

The amendment will have to be agreed by the lower House of Commons, where the government has a majority, before it becomes law. Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said today that government lawmakers won’t be told how to vote on the issue.

“Of course it’s a stupid thing to do to smoke with kids in the car,” Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said during his weekly phone-in show on LBC Radio. “The question is, is it right to have a law every time you see something you don’t like. Laws and legislation are not always the solution.”

The health department said before the vote that while it supported the objective, “we do not believe that legislation is the most effective way to achieve this.” The prime minister “wants to look at the evidence,” his spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, told reporters yesterday.

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