THREE out of Bradford’s five MPs will vote against introducing plain packaging for tobacco.

A new law on packaging – which could cost jobs at two Bradford firms – could come into force by next year after it was announced MPs will be asked to vote on the plan before May’s General Election.

The measure is expected to pass despite Conservative objections after MPs were granted a free vote on the issue.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said introducing plain packaging “would mark a huge victory for public health, and a momentous step towards saving some of the 200,000 young people who currently take up this deadly habit each year”.

In Bradford, MPs Philip Davies, George Galloway and Gerry Sutcliffe said they will oppose the legislation, but David Ward and Kris Hopkins will vote in favour.

Two firms in Bradford, MPS – formerly known as Chesapeake – and Weidenhammer, part of the Sonoco group, both produce cigarette packaging. Both have strongly opposed the reform and warned it could lead to job cuts.

Shipley Conservative MP Mr Davies, a non-smoker, said: education was the reason smoking levels in the UK had dropped every year since 1975, not things like plain packaging.

He said: “It is completely ludicrous and idiotic. It is nonsensical because cigarettes are already behind shutters. Why you need plain packaging for products you cannot see, I don’t know."

“It’s a dream for counterfeiters. Life will be made so much easier for them.”

He added: “Lots of jobs in Bradford in the packaging industry will needlessly be put at risk.”

MP for Bradford West George Galloway, who is a cigar smoker, is against plain-packaging and claimed alcohol was “far more damaging”.

He said: “I am against it. We have a constituency interest in it, of course, but that is not the only reason.

“I think there is a mania about smoking in this country, but it is a perfectly legal pastime.

“It contrasts vividly with wall-to-wall advertisements of alcohol, which is far more damaging.”

He added: “It is a question of freedom. It is absurd that it is locked behind doors while supermarkets have full aisles selling cut-price alcohol.”

Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe said: “I think it is unproven that it will make a difference to people stopping smoking. "It will drive illicit trade underground and will affect jobs in Bradford as well.”

He added: “I don’t want youngsters to smoke – I am against smoking but knee-jerk projects are not the way forward.”

David Ward, MP for Bradford East, said smoking had an “enormous impact” on the NHS budget, and added: “Anything that acts in anyway in helping people to give up smoking must be a good thing. I think there is evidence this will contribute towards it.”

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, a former smoker, said: “I am very pleased that this commitment has been made and that the law will be changed."

Mike Ridgway, director of the Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance and former managing director of Weidenhammer Packaging, part of the Sonoco group, in Bradford, said: “The packaging industry stands in the middle of this situation and will undoubtedly be the loser if the proposals become law and if reductions in specification complexity, added value and loss of production value take place.”