Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader today has condemned the Government's precipitous rush to legislate on plain packs before the election.
"This legislation is wrong, not only is it counter to freedom, the basic building block of prosperity, but it is an abuse of Parliamentary process, and most important of all, it is ineffectual and in fact could lead to worse health outcomes than we have now.
"It is another step on the way to nationalise individual conscience and choice."
Farage went on to criticise the way in which the Government is planning to get their legislation on the statute books.
"The Government is only offering a free vote on plain packs because it is frightened by a Tory rebellion and can only win with opposition support. Free votes are for major issues of conscience, yet the Government offers one for this, and not for the EU referendum. It is an abuse of process. Worse still this is being rushed through before the election, in the next two months, at a time when the country is crying out for a government to take the lead on many other issues".
"The most devastating failure of these proposals is that they do not even work. If the idea is to reduce smoking, particularly among the young. In Australia the evidence is that there has been no impact on youth smoking, in fact there has been a slight increase among the youngest. Instead poor quality counterfeit cigarettes are flooding the market which are much worse for people's health, with the proceeds of the blackmarket funding organised crime and hammering the potential tax take by many millions".