Former Tory candidate leads branding ban bid

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A woman who made an unsuccessful challenge for the Pendle parliamentary seat in 2005 is at the forefront of plans to ban branding on cigarette packs in England.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, who is now MP for Battersea in London told MPs an independent report found it was “very likely to have a positive impact” on public health and stop children from starting to smoke.

Ms Ellison said she was publishing draft regulations for a final, “short consultation”.

Labour accused Ms Ellison of kicking the issue “into the long grass”.

Shadow health secretary Luciana Berger called for immediate legislation to ban branding, telling MPs: “There is an overwhelming body of evidence in favour of standardised packaging and there can be no excuse for a further delay.”

Ms Ellison challenged Labour’s Gordon Prentice for the Pendle seat in 2005 and although she halved his majority from just over 4,000 to 2,180, Labour held on to the seat for another five years until current MP Andrew Stephenson captured it for the Tories at the last election.