Policing Minister Kit Malthouse admitted it was likely there were some ‘lifestyle users’ in the Palace of Westminster after reports that traces of cocaine were found in Parliament
A top Tory has said he would be “surprised” if people weren’t taking drugs in Parliament – as the Government prepares to announce a new crackdown on illegal substances.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said it was likely there were some “lifestyle users” among the thousands of people working in the Palace of Westminster.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has vowed to contact the police after reports that traces of cocaine had been found in numerous sites in Parliament.
Only one of 12 lavatory areas tested showed traces of cocaine, according to a probe by the Sunday Times.
The claims come as Boris Johnson was poised to unveil its 10-year drugs strategy for England and Wales, in potentially awkward timing for the Government.
The plan includes a police crackdown to cut off the supply of class A drugs by city-based crime rings to the surrounding county areas – known as county lines.
The PM also suggested it could include removing the passports and driving licences of offenders, as the Government targets middle class users.
Asked if some of his own colleagues could be hit by proposals to remove the passports and driving licences of offenders, Mr Malthouse told Sky News: “I hope not.
“There are obviously several thousand people who work on the estate and I would be surprised if there weren’t some lifestyle users of drugs amongst them.
“But we want to do is get to a place where police and other authorities are concentrating as much as the part of the drugs industry as they are on crack and heroin.”
Mr Malthouse also backed plans by Sir Lindsay to use sniffer dogs to stamp out drug use in Westminster.
On Sunday, the Commons Speaker 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.
“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.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said it was right that the reports had been referred to the police.
She told Sky News: “It’s not something I’ve ever seen but I think the Speaker of the House of Commons is absolutely right to say this has to be referred to the Metropolitan Police.
“You can’t have an institution that’s supposed to be law-making and in fact have within it so much law-breaking, so I think it’s absolutely right that this is properly investigated.”