By Ian Dunt
Foreign dignitaries attending the G20 summit in London next month will be exempt from the smoking ban, it has been revealed.
The leniency required an amendment to the legislation enforcing the ban.
Certain smoking rooms will now be allowed in the Excel Exhibition Centre in Docklands in east London during the summit.
The announcement provoked instant recrimination from libertarians and publicans.
Many working men's clubs have faced precipitous falls in income since the ban, after a second vote in parliament denied private members clubs the right to allow members to opt-in to smoking leniency.
"Our government are accommodating, rightly so, the political leaders from across the globe, yet they are not prepared to accommodate millions of their own citizens," said Andy Davis, chairman of Freedom2Choose.
"This concession should now be made available to all private businesses and clubs for them to adopt if they so desire."
The smoking ban, incorporated into the Health Act 2006, stops anyone smoking in enclosed public places.
Newham Council, the local authority, is understood to have environmental health officers looking into the matter after not being made aware of the amendment.
But it is still unclear whether the amendment was for the time of the summit or the location permanently.
Conservative MP Anne Widdecombe said: "It's one law for one, and one for another, and I think that sums up this government."