It mirrors New Zealand law and means, in effect, that everyone currently aged 14 or younger will never be able to legally purchase cigarettes, while people who smoke now will not be affected.
Sunak admitted that such restrictions were “never easy” for a Conservative to accept, but argued that “there is no safe level of smoking”, pointing to the deaths it causes and the knock-on impact on the NHS.
He said the changes were an opportunity to “do the right thing for our kids: we need to stop teenagers from using cigarettes in the first place.”
The plan would mean that in the future a “generation will be able to grow up without smoking”.
However, it provoked an immediate reaction. Liz Truss, the former prime minister, is among those expected to vote against the plan, which will be put to a free vote in Parliament, while other Conservative MPs said it was “ridiculous” and “completely unenforceable”.
Health campaigners welcomed the plans, with Sajid Javid, the former health secretary, saying Sunak “would be on the right side of history”.
The Labor Party, which had already proposed such a ban, signaled on Wednesday that it would lend the votes of its MPs to Sunak to pass the legislation, although civil liberties groups said the plan was “absurd, illiberal” and “unconservative”.
Downing Street could not say when the vote would take place, but a spokesman said: “Rishi Sunak is a man in a hurry.”
Replacement for A levels
The Prime Minister also revealed plans to replace A and T levels with what he called the “Advanced British Standard”.
It would mean that pupils would normally study five subjects in their final year of school, rather than three as is usual now. Mathematics and English would also be compulsory for all students up to the age of 18.
Teenagers will choose a combination of subjects, called majors and minors, between academic and technical options.
However, Downing Street later made clear that the transition to the new system would take at least a decade to implement and that children who had just started primary school would likely be the first group to gain the new qualification.
Sunak also said pupils would spend at least 195 more hours with a teacher over two years and the number of teaching hours would increase by an additional 15 per cent for most pupils aged 16 to 19, bringing the country closer to the standards. international.
Announced an initial investment of £600m over two years to lay the foundations for the scheme, including funding tax-free bonuses of up to £30,000 over the first five years of their career for teachers in key subjects in shortage.
Sunak told the conference: “Firstly, this will finally deliver on the promise of equal value between academic and technical education, because all students will sit the Advanced British Standard.
“Secondly, we will raise the floor to ensure our children leave school literate and numerate because with the Advanced British Standard all students will study some form of maths and English up to the age of 18 with extra help for those who They have more difficulties. In our country, no child should be left behind.”
Both the health and education policy areas are devolved, meaning that the political parties running the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to decide whether to adopt or reject the same policies.
As expected, the Prime Minister formally announced that the second section of HS2, which was due to run from Birmingham to Manchester, will no longer take place.
But he promised that “every penny” of the £36bn savings will be reinvested in new transport projects, mainly in the North and the Midlands.
More focus will be placed on East-West links than North-South, with £12bn being spent to improve links between Manchester and Liverpool. Almost a quarter of the money saved, £8.3bn, will be spent on pothole repairs.
HS2 will now connect to London Euston, rather than Old Oak Common station on the outskirts of the capital. But the Euston development will be revamped, saving £6.5bn.