UK's Sunak confirms anti-smoking plan will not become law before election

British PM Sunak calls for general election, in London

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plan to ban smoking for younger generations will not become law after he called a snap election leaving no time to push through one of his flagship policies.

"The smoking ban, of course, disappointed not to be able to get that through at the end of the session given the time available," Sunak told reporters on Friday.

Sunak had wanted to bring in some of the world's strictest anti-smoking rules by banning anyone aged 15 and under from ever buying cigarettes, but the bill to make that happen was left off the parliamentary agenda, leading to speculation it would be shelved.

He called an election for July 4 on Wednesday, giving the government just days to complete outstanding legislative business in a so-called "wash-up" period.

In his speech calling for the election, Sunak had boasted that his government had ensured the next generation would be "smoke-free".

But that claim - seen as a key part of his intended legacy - will be undermined without the anti-smoking bill becoming law, even if the next government reintroduces the legislation.

The bill had passed its first parliamentary hurdle in April despite dozens of lawmakers in Sunak's Conservative party voting against it.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by William James)