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Lincoln MP against plain tobacco packaging plans

Conservative Lincoln MP Karl McCartney is among five other MPs who received gifts from a leading tobacco company.

Now he is among 51 MPs who signed an open letter calling for the government to drop plans for plain cigarette packaging.

The letter, according to The Telegraph, warns that the new policy “threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector.”

Parliament’s register of MP’s interests indicates Karl McCartney declared among with a number of MPs to have accepted lunch and two tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2011, valued at £1,132.80 from Japan Tobacco International — which owns brands such as Benson & Hedges, Camel, Silk Cut and Mayfair, The Independent reported.

The letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley argues that “the forcible removal of branding would infringe fundamental legal rights, severely damage principles around intellectual property and set a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial freedom of speech.”

Karl McCartney was unavailable to comment.