A group of leading restaurateurs including Richard Shepherd, Roy Ackerman and Antony Worrall Thompson have joined forces to try to block attempts to ban smoking in London and Liverpool.
Liverpool Council and the Association of London Government both submitted private bills calling for a blanket ban on smoking in the workplace at the end of November 2004.
But there was a last-minute rush this week to lodge formal objections to the bills which want to go further than the Government's White Paper and limit smoking in every enclosed workplace - including pubs and bars which don't sell food.
Other restaurateurs to sign the petition include Tom Conran, Sorren Jessen, Ranald Macdonald and Chris Bodker. Shepherd, who owns Langan's Brasserie in London's Mayfair, said he had been approached by several MPs to start the petition, and had so far collected more than 50 signatures.
"They're trying to slide this bill in the back door as a fait accompli," he said. "I still feel strongly that restaurateurs should have the prerogative to decide how they want to run their own business."
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 10 February 2005