Conservative MPs were furious when health minister Jane Ellison made a surprise announcement that plain packaging of cigarettes would be introduced before the election.
It’s now thought that over 100 of them are preparing to vote against David Cameron’s plans, amid growing concerns about the cost. Major tobacco firms have threatened to sue the government if they are deprived of the use of their intellectual property due to plain packaging. This is highly sensitive for Cameron, who is pinning his election hopes on the economy and reducing UK’s huge budget deficit.
Tory MP Nick de Bois, said the policy “leaves the UK taxpayer with a potential compensation claim of billions. The Treasury must be horrified by this move.”
And Dame Angela Watkinson, a Conservative MP who spoke out against the proposals in the Commons, told City A.M. that plain packaging is a “multi billion pound spending commitment”, and the “loss of Intellectual Property Rights could lead to huge compensation claims”.
A disgruntled Tory backbencher dismissed the policy as “total bollocks”, and hinted at a large rebellion brewing.