Saturday, 15 December 2012
PM slaps down drugs softie Clegg
Nick Clegg had a humiliating slapdown from David Cameron yesterday after calling for softer policies on drugs.
Mr Clegg infuriated Tories in the Coalition by claiming: “We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale.”
The Deputy Prime Minister called for a Royal Commission and suggested possession of cannabis, cocaine or heroin might be decriminalised. He revealed he had sent Lib Dem Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne to Amsterdam, the US and Lisbon to examine more liberal approaches.
But Mr Cameron rubbished Mr Clegg’s claims at a news conference in Brussels.
He said: “There is some evidence that drug abuse is falling. I don’t think a Royal Commission is the answer and I don’t support decriminalisation of any drugs that are currently illegal.”
Mr Clegg opened the new Coalition rift over drugs in a newspaper interview.
He said he was frustrated that Mr Cameron had rejected a Home Affairs Committee report calling for a rethink on drugs policy this week.
“If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year and your enemies are making billions in profit, you’d say you are losing,” said Mr Clegg.
Downing Street would not say if Mr Clegg had discussed his views with Mr Cameron before speaking out.
A spokeswoman said: “As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, as he has made clear, the policy is working.”