Winchester's MP has backed the Government's plans to ban young people from ever being able to smoke.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Victoria Atkins claimed MPs have a “duty” to protect the next generation from the illnesses and harms caused by tobacco, as the Tobacco and Vapes Bill had its first hearing in the Commons on Tuesday, April 16.

The proposals, announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last October, would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1 2009, to create a “smoke-free” generation.

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Some Conservative MPs critical of the plans continued to question their impact on personal liberties.

Former prime minister Liz Truss claimed it was a “virtue-signalling piece of legislation” and said the Bill was evidence of a “technocratic establishment” that wished to limit freedom.

Hampshire Chronicle: Steve Brine in the House of CommonsSteve Brine in the House of Commons (Image: Contributed)

But Winchester MP Steve Brine, the Conservative chairman of the Health Select Committee, said he would be supporting the Bill to assist with measures aimed at reducing the burden on the NHS.

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He told the Commons: “We will hear today, certainly we have on the media, about banning things. We will hear about the nanny state, perhaps even an echo from the distant past about Anglo-Saxon England.

“Well, as the MP representing the capital of the former kingdom of Wessex, I don’t hold much truck with that.

"I prefer to listen, foolish that I am, to the four CMOs (chief medical officers) of our nation who say to be pro-individual choice should mean being against the deliberate addiction of children, young people, and young adults to something that will harm them, potentially fatally.

"I have always believed that in a publicly-funded healthcare system, we have a right and I would say indeed a responsibility to act on public health because it becomes everyone’s problem when we don’t.

"If you are a Conservative and a smaller state is your thing, although I never can pinpoint which part of the state many people don’t want their constituents to have, you should be right behind a healthier society, one that needs the state less, one that relies on the state less, one that costs the state less.”