Current and former MPs have warned of the damage drug use has on society amid pressure from activists to legalise substances such as heroin and cannabis.
Speaking on BBC Two’s Politics Live, Miriam Cates blasted Green Party Co-Leader Carla Denyer’s call for the UK Government to legalise all illegal drugs.
Mrs Cates voiced support for programmes to help drug addicts, but said “that’s a whole different thing to signalling through the law that we no longer think drug use is harmful, drug use doesn’t just harm the individual, it’s a blight on society”.
The Christian MP explained that drugs create “a whole criminal ecosystem that draws children to county lines gangs, it creates all sort of criminality, and addiction destroys lives.
“And I think there is a difference between being understanding and compassionate and having programmes to help people get off drugs, and using the law to signal this is no longer a boundary that society wants and that would be a wrong thing to do.”
Former Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe also highlighted “what people underestimate is this: they think it is all about supply. But just as supply fuels demand, demand also fuels supply. And therefore you do have to tackle possession as well as supply.”
In 2021, Scotland’s Lord Advocate announced that people caught with possession of Class A drugs could be issued with a warning instead of prosecution.
you do have to tackle possession as well as supply
Last month, revelations of illegal drug taking in the Duke of Sussex’s memoir were widely criticised.
In his book Spare, Prince Harry admitted taking drugs including cocaine, magic mushrooms, ketamine and cannabis.
Under UK law, cocaine and magic mushrooms are Class A drugs which carry a penalty of up to life in prison for supply, and up to seven years behind bars for possession.