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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Hockney leads smoking ban protest
David Hockney smoking
Pubs are not health clubs, according to Mr Hockney
Artist David Hockney has taken his anger against the government's plans to ban smoking in most public places to the Labour Party Conference.

Mr Hockney, speaking for the smokers' lobby group Forest, told delegates that the proposals were "a step too far".

Earlier, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme those proposing a ban were "absolutely dreary" and "too bossy".

But Labour MP Julie Morgan said there was "overwhelming" evidence of the dangers of smoking to public health.

'Drown your sorrows'

A government White Paper proposing a ban on smoking in public places in England by 2008 was published last November.

It said that licensed premises which do not serve food and private members' clubs, will be exempt.

But Mr Hockney, born in Bradford, said: "Death awaits you whether you smoke or not. Pubs are not health clubs. People go to drown their sorrows.

"We could save a lot more lives if we refuse to serve alcohol, you could argue. This is ridiculous. It's bossy."

Ms Morgan said it was important to protect people who did not smoke, especially staff in places like pubs.

Julie Morgan
Julie Morgan was accused of 'destroying bohemia'

She highlighted associated problems such as asthma.

But an increasingly angry Mr Hockney said on the programme: "Why must every place be suitable for you? What about me?

"Can't there be some place suitable for me? You destroy bohemia."

Ms Morgan said it was important to protect children from the dangers of smoking.

An increasingly irate Mr Hockney said: "I think you are too bossy, chum. You are dreary. You are absolutely dreary.

"Some people want to live and they don't want to live like you do. It doesn't matter if I die early."

Anti-smoker protest

He added: "You get rid of smoking and they are all on anti-depressant pills. You think that's better; I don't."

On Wednesday a photocall with Mr Hockney was disrupted by veteran anti-smoking protester Stuart Holmes, who was brandishing a placard calling for a prohibition on all tobacco products.

Mr Hockney said he was not perturbed by Mr Holmes' protest. "He was stubborn, I like that. I'm stubborn. I recognised a fellow."

Simon Clark, director of pro-smoking lobby group Forest, said: "The British public have repeatedly said that they want politicians to keep a sense of perspective when legislating on smoking in public places.

"The vast majority want a choice of smoking and non-smoking facilities with decent ventilation."

David Hockney explains his anti-smoking ban stance

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