Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Almost half

I nearly missed this little story in the Daily Mail...

Tobacco firm gave thousands of pounds worth of hospitality to nine MPs who opposed smoking bill

MPs who received thousands of pounds worth of hospitality from one of the world’s largest tobacco companies opposed a new law banning smoking in cars.

The parliamentary register of members’ interests shows Japan Tobacco International, which produces Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut and Camel cigarettes, spent £23,000 entertaining 20 MPs in the past six months.

Almost half of them voted against a Private Member’s Bill banning smoking in cars carrying children.

"Almost half of them" means "less than half of them" — which doesn't sound like much of a return for sending 20 fat cat MPs to the Chelsea Flower Show (for that is what happened). So how does that compare to the MPs who were not treated to corporate hospitality?

The vote went in favour of the bill by 78 votes to 66. If we exclude the 20 votes of the MPs above, it leaves a vote of 67 to 57. Therefore 46% voted against the bill—or, if you are the Daily Mail, "almost half of them".

Amongst the MPs who accepted tickets to the flower show, 11 voted for and 9 voted against. Therefore 45% of them voted against the bill.

Behold the power of Big Tobacco!

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