Protest over town smoking ban bid
About 200 people have attended a protest against proposals for a town to become the first in the country to ban smoking in open places, according to organisers.
Local councillor Paul Bartlett has proposed the move to stop people from lighting up in the streets of Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire.
Campaigners, politicians, non-smokers, local residents and representatives from the business community were amongst those who attended the opposition rally.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who is also the local MEP for Buckinghamshire, said: "We have already seen the horrific impact the smoking ban has had to the pub trade which has resulted in hundreds of pubs across the UK shutting down.
"If this new proposal in Stony goes through it will mean no more 'popping out for a smoke'.
"I have been listening to the concerns from the local business community and they believe that this will have a negative impact on the place.
"For local pubs it could well be the final nail in their coffin. For other businesses they feel people will simply stop coming to Stony.
"Councillor Bartlett really needs to consider how this could damage the town he is supposed to care about."
The meeting took place at The Vaults Bar, High Street, Stony Stratford, and was followed by a "mass light-up" by smokers to show their opposition to the proposal.
Stony Stratford Town Council will be voting on the proposal on Tuesday evening. If successful it will then ask Milton Keynes Council to use its powers to introduce the necessary law.