Thursday, 3 April 2008

Khat and cake - MPs talk drugs

I spent some time in the Chamber earlier today substituting as PPS to the Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker, as a favour to a fellow MP and also to Vernon for coming down to Bristol a couple of weeks ago for the residents' meeting on prostitution.

The debate was on drugs strategy, with some interesting contributions. John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, has done some really good work on heroin addiction in his constituency since he was elected in 2001 and cited some interesting stats on how heroin use has declined in recent years, e.g. he urged MPs to check figures for drugs-related admissions to A and E departments in their patches. Worth reading his speech in Hansard if you get a chance.

The Tory MP David Amess decided to bring up the subject of his public condemnation (on Brasseye) of the fictitious drug 'cake' before anyone else could. He tried the 'anyone could have fallen for it' defence, although if memory serves me correctly, he did deliver his anti-cake rant while holding something huge and yellow, and with Chris Morris (an absoute genius - where is he now?) citing lists of ever more absurd 'street names' for the drug. Maybe it was all down to the editing. David drew the conclusion that the programme-makers had failed because 'no-one was stopped from taking drugs' as a result of the sketch. Erm... don't think that was quite the point somehow! (Have just discovered this site:

The issue of khat use - particularly by the Somali community - was also raised during the debate. I've raised it with the Home Office before now, and by coincidence arrived back at my desk to find a letter from Vernon on the subject waiting for me. I'll post it on my main website when I get a chance.

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