A Bristol politician has slammed Michael Gove for his admission that he took cocaine – claiming a teenager from Barton Hill would be in prison for doing the exact same thing.
Lib Dem parliamentary candidate James Cox said the admission by the former Justice Secretary and Tory leadership candidate that he took Class A drugs shows the ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Mr Gove and the Conservatives’ drug policy.
Mr Cox, who is standing in the Bristol West seat which covers much of inner-city Bristol, said there should be a wide scale review of the UK’s drug policy.
“The Conservative Party have consistently blocked attempts to reform UK drug laws, including Norman Lamb MP’s recent Ten-Minute Rule Bill to legalise cannabis,” he said.
Bristol has the highest level of crack cocaine use in the UK and was heavily featured on the BBC documentary Drugsland, which also featured the efforts of the Labour MP for Bristol West Thangam Debonnaire to challenge the current Government drugs policy.
“What they did, for me, is not the issue,” said Mr Cox, after a week of admissions of past drugs usage by three Conservative leadership candidates.
“It’s that they’ve made a political career out of criminalising drug use and punishing people with addictions.
“The rampant hypocrisy of our legislators towards drugs legislation is damaging the lives of people in Bristol and across the country.
“Whilst I’m glad we are talking about drug use more honestly, the fact remains that if a teenager in Barton Hill did what Mr Gove had done, they would be in prison. Mr Gove knows this, that for people of less privilege, their story doesn’t end with them becoming Prime Minister.
(Image: Bristol Liberal Democrat group)
“I was honoured to take Lib Dem leadership candidate Ed Davey to Bristol Drugs Project where we met with people who had all started where Mr Gove, Mr Stewart and Mr Cleverley did, but who have ended up somewhere far different.
“It’s time to have an open and honest discussion about reforming our drugs policy, to decriminalise their use, treating addicts as patients, not criminals, and to take the cannabis market out of the hands of criminal gangs. It’s time to end the hypocrisy,” he added.