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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 16:13 GMT
New party to oppose smoking ban
No smoking sign
The party wants smoking to be allowed in Scotland's pubs and bars
A new political party formed to oppose the Scottish Executive's ban on smoking in pubs is to be officially launched.

The Publican Party is campaigning for a repeal of the executive's proposals and plans to field a candidate for the forthcoming general election.

The candidate will contest the Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber seat, currently held by Labour MP David Stewart.

It also plans to field candidates across Scotland for the 2007 elections.

The party is the brainchild of Inverness publicans Kit Fraser and Don Lawson, who say smokers in pubs are entitled to the same rights as non-smokers.

We thought Scottish devolution was about more democracy, not contradicting democracy
Kit Fraser

They say a "cold-call" survey of 103 publicans across Scotland which they carried out showed that 100 pledged their support towards scrapping the ban.

Mr Fraser said: "We are campaigning for a repeal on part of the smoking ban where it applies in pubs and for it to be a requirement for publicans to install ventilation systems in their pubs.

"We do not discriminate against smokers or non-smokers.

"The Scottish Executive conducted a public survey, the results of which showed that three-quarters of the Scottish public were against the ban where it was being applied to Scottish pubs.

"We thought Scottish devolution was about more democracy, not contradicting democracy."

The launch in Inverness on Tuesday evening is expected to be attended by a number of publicans and members of the public.

Why Scottish ministers backed the ban


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