OPPONENTS of plans to put health chiefs in charge of adding fluoride to public water supplies are preparing for a legal challenge after admitting that they will lose a Commons vote next week.

MPs are to be allowed a free vote on legislation to make it easier to fluoridate water supplies by transferring the decision from water companies to health authorities. A cross-party group fighting the plans say that lawyers are ready to work pro bono to challenge the Water Bill as a breach of human rights.

Some MPs are furious at government tactics, saying that the new powers were not in the draft Water Bill on which expert witnesses were called to give evidence but were added late when the Bill was recommitted to the House of Lords.