By Tony O’Riley-
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has promised to raise allegations of drug use in Parliament with the Metropolitan Police this week.
Hoyle was reacting to a report in the Sunday Times that traces of cocaine had been found in several lavatory areas as “deeply concerning”. Two drug dealers have also been arrested on or around the parliamentary estate over the past year, as well as 13 people being detained for drug possession.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle had himself raised alarm of drug use in parliament in the past, but the latest revelation exposes a potentially hypocritical system that sees makers of the laws being breakers of the law themselves.
Hoyle’s move comes after the Sunday Times reported: “that an investigation found traces of cocaine in 11 out of 12 locations tested in the Palace of Westminster”.
One senior MP claimed, “it was time to consider bringing in sniffer dogs to help detect illicit substances”.
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 next week. “I expect to see full and effective enforcement of the law.” He added: “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.”
The confirmation that several ministers in government likely get high on the job questions the credibility of ministers when it comes to important decision making .
Ministers have also in the past admitted during surveys that they suffer from mental health issues, the scale of which varies from person to person.
The finding has worrying implications for the country as a whole given the extent to which cocaine can compromise the mental faculties. Cocaine is consumed by millions of people in the Uk, but remains illegal, and as such should not be taken by high personnel running our country. Double standards of this type is deeply troubling,
Hoyle’s decision comes as the government is expected on Monday to pledge £700m over three years to tackle problem drug use.
The government plans to put more emphasis on recovery from addiction, and less on prosecuting people caught with illegal substances. The idea of placing more weight on recovery is likely coming from ministers who are thinking from personal experience.
The Sunday Time reports all but one of 12 lavatory areas in Parliament that were tested showed traces of cocaine, adding the House of Commons Commission – responsible for the running of the Palace of Westminster – was considering allowing the use of sniffer dogs to detect users.
Sir Lindsay told the BBC: “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 next 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.”
The maximum penalty for possession of class A drugs, including cocaine, is up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.
Prime minister , Boris Johnson, has also announced new plans to crack down on drug use and distribution across the UK, set to ‘make an example’ out of middle-class offenders.
As reported by The Times, evidence of cocaine was identified in the toilets nearest Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel, as well as the disabled bathroom on the shadow cabinet corridor in Norman Shaw North and the accessible toilet beside the office of Nick Thomas-Symonds, the former shadow home secretary.
A total of 12 locations across Westminster were tested with detection wipes – all but one revealed evidence of cocaine use, including places restricted to those with parliamentary passes, according to the report. Two drug dealers have also been arrested on or around the parliamentary estate over the past year, as well as 13 people being detained for drug possession.