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Keir Starmer goes soft on drugs

Keir Starmer goes soft on drugs: Labour chief backs SNP policy of letting off users as ‘probably right thing to do’

  • Keir Starmer backed Scotland’s move to go soft on drugs possession 
  • He was asked if he agreed with drug users being let off with a police warning
  • The Labour leader said it was ‘probably the right thing to do’ 


Sir Keir Starmer was blasted last night after he backed Scotland’s controversial move to go soft on drugs possession.

Asked if he agreed with drug users being let off with a police warning, the Labour leader said it was ‘probably the right thing to do’.

Scotland effectively decriminalised drugs on Wednesday as the SNP announced police would be advised to issue only a ‘recorded police warning’ to anyone in possession of drugs, including Class A heroin and cocaine. 

Sir Keir insisted he was not in favour of scrapping drugs laws completely.

But his comments in an ITV interview last night were seized upon by Home Secretary Priti Patel who wrote on Twitter: ‘Drugs devastate lives. They ruin communities and tear families apart.’

She added, in a twist on ex-PM Tony Blair’s famous vote-winning ‘tough on crime’ slogan: ‘Under Keir Starmer, Labour is weak on crime and weak on the causes of crime.’ 

Sir Keir Starmer was blasted last night after he backed Scotland’s controversial move to go soft on drugs possession

The row came as Sir Keir tried to shift Labour back to its Blairite heyday with a 12,000-word essay setting out his vision for a ‘patriotic’ party which works with business. 

In a bid to distance Labour from the disastrous Jeremy Corbyn years, he praised the ‘innovative brilliance’ of the private sector and said the role of Government was to ‘be a partner to private enterprise, not stifle it’.

And he said a future Labour Government would ‘repair public finances’ and be careful to avoid wasting taxpayer cash.

The essay, published by the Fabian Society, includes no mention of ‘socialism’ but does have 29 references to ‘business’. Similarly, Mr Corbyn gets no mention while former premiers Mr Blair and Gordon Brown get two each.

Scotland effectively decriminalised drugs on Wednesday as the SNP announced police would be advised to issue only a 'recorded police warning' to anyone in possession of drugs, including Class A heroin and cocaine (pictured: Nicola Sturgeon)

Scotland effectively decriminalised drugs on Wednesday as the SNP announced police would be advised to issue only a ‘recorded police warning’ to anyone in possession of drugs, including Class A heroin and cocaine (pictured: Nicola Sturgeon)

The essay also makes no mention of nationalisation, even though Sir Keir stood for the party leadership last year on a platform of ‘common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water’.

Hard-Left former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the document ‘looks like the Sermon on the Mount written by a focus group’. The essay, entitled The Road Ahead, was published in the run-up to the Labour Party conference in Brighton next week.

Sir Keir, 59, also wrote that he was concerned working-class children now had fewer opportunities. He said: ‘I was fortunate enough to be the first in my family to go to university, after which I was able to pursue a rewarding career.’

He added: ‘Does a working-class child in Britain today have the same opportunities my generation did? It is hard to think they do.’

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