UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that he ‘agrees’ with the Deputy Prime Minister’s stance on drugs policy.
Earlier this week, Nick Clegg expressed the “need for a royal commission in Britain” on drugs, following a trip to Colombia.
Farage expressed support for Clegg’s views and described the current approach as “neither practical nor effective”.
“First, the so-called War on Drugs isn’t working. Second, we should appoint a royal commission to look into the alternatives”, he added.
Writing in The Independent, he said he strongly believes in “promoting individual freedom” and commented that Clegg had made some “smart points”.
“As a parent as much as a politician, I say we have to accept that current policy has not achieved the reductions in crime or consumption that we’d hoped for,” he explained.
Clegg called for “different strategy” to tackle the UK’s drugs policy. He said we “must be prepared to start afresh” and be “prepared to do things differently”.
Farage explained that he “strongly” believes in reducing the public harm caused by drugs and he backed the Deputy Prime Minister saying, “on this one I agree with Nick”.
Last week a national newspaper columnist said she has “changed her mind” about drugs and now opposes legalisation, because it would lead to more young people’s deaths.
Joan Burnie, a columnist and former agony aunt for the Daily Record newspaper, made the comments following the death of teenager Regane MacColl who reportedly died from taking an ecstasy-like drug.
Burnie, initially in favour of liberalising drugs laws, had claimed it would ‘knock out’ dealers and ensure drugs weren’t “cut with noxious, deadly nasties”.
But the columnist changed her position on legalising the trade of “so-called softer stuff” after realising that doing so would undoubtedly lead to widespread abuse – just like alcohol.
Referring to the night of Regane’s tragic death, she said that 70 per cent of those who were brought into A&E were there as a result of their drinking.
Labelling “fags and booze” as “utterly legal coffin fillers”, Burnie said that “drugs, soft or hard, would not reduce the number of Reganes but increase them”.
She added “it would just give us another legal way to get out of our tiny, befuddled, irresponsible minds”.
Burnie commented: “When I was young, people got drunk – of course, they did – but drink was nothing like as available or as cheap as it is today.
“We didn’t see in every city, town and village, people habitually reeling about under the influence, creating mayhem in the streets and their own livers.”
The columnist added that it is “impossible to deny the connection” between increased licensing hours, cheaper alcohol, fewer restrictions on its sale, and “our booze culture”.
Last year a senior police officer called for the decriminalisation of Class A drugs and for the NHS to be able to give them out to addicts.
Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, was criticised by commentators and researchers who said such a move would encourage rather than discourage drug tourism and crime.
In December 2013 Norman Baker, the minister in charge of drugs policy, said legalising cannabis needs to be considered alongside other options.