Rory Stewart is a government minister in the environment department. Presented with the opportunity to take some cash off tobacco companies to help clean up litter, he plays the nannying fussbucket card:
In January, Kris Hopkins, then a local government minister, said he wanted tobacco companies to "make a contribution to put right the wrongs as a consequence of their product". The companies offered to fund measures to help clean the country's streets last month, but the offer was rejected by Rory Stewart, a junior environment minister. In a letter to the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, Mr Stewart said that a tie-up risked undermining councils’ work in promoting public health. Mr Stewart said it was "for local authorities to decide whether they wish to work with the tobacco industry", but added that councils should take their own legal advice before accepting the support. He said: "Since April 1 2013, local authorities have had responsibility for improving the health of their local populations and for public health services. The Government's view is that where a local authority enters into a partnership with a tobacco company, this fundamentally undermines the authority's statutory duty to promote public health."
How stupid is this?