Kit Malthouse grilled by Burley on drug usage within Parliament
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Sir Lindsay has said it is “deeply concerning” that an investigation found traces of cocaine in areas of the Palace of Westminster accessible only to people with parliamentary passes. He vowed yesterday to bring in the police to stop the country’s lawmakers from breaking the very rules they set.
He promised the “full and effective enforcement of the law” on the parliamentary estate.
Sniffer dogs have been touted as one potential new measure to clamp down on drug-taking in Westminster.
It comes after traces of cocaine in 11 out of 12 locations tested on the Parliamentary estate.
The toilets near the private offices of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary was among the locations where evidence of cocaine was found.
Detection wipes, which turn blue if traces of drugs are found, were used to investigate amid claims of casual use of the class A drug by a group of MPs.
Commons officials received reports last month that cannabis could be smelt in the open space between Portcullis House and 1 Parliament Street, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
In a statement, Sir Lindsay said: “The accounts of drug misuse in Parliament given to the Sunday Times are deeply concerning – and I will be raising them as a priority with the Metropolitan Police this week.
“I expect to see full and effective enforcement of the law.
“While Parliament provides extensive support services for any staff or Members who may need help with drug misuse – and I would encourage anyone struggling with such issues to take up such help – for those who choose to flout the law and bring the institution into disrepute the sanctions are serious.”
Sir Lindsay first vowed to take action on drug-taking when he was running to replace John Bercow as Speaker.
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He said in 2019: “It’s not just drink we’ve got to catch out, there is a drug problem.”
Senior Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker, who chairs the administration committee, suggested drugs sniffer dogs could be deployed.
He said: “The House of Commons has a long history of using sniffer dogs to detect explosives.
“It may be that we now need to broaden the range of sniffer dogs to include those which can detect drugs.”
Earlier this year it was revealed two drug dealers had been arrested and 13 people detained for possession of drugs on or around the parliamentary estate in the period of just one year.
Sir Lindsay’s vow to take action comes as Boris Johnson launched his own campaign to stop drug-taking across the country.
Plans as part of a 10-year strategy on tackling drugs included taking passports and driving licences away from middle-class drug users.
The Prime Minister said this morning: “We are looking at doing things to tackle those so-called lifestyle drug users who don’t think they are part of the problem.
“In the end, all the demand is helping to create the problem.
“The 300,000 problem drugs users, you’ve got to deal with what is going on there, you’ve got to make sure they are given rehab, you’ve got to come down tough on the county lines gangs, but you’ve also got to think about what is happening with the demand, the economic advantage that is given to the gangs by the lifestyle users as well.”
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