Norman Lamb: Most Tory ministers have 'almost certainly' tried drugs

The Lib Dem leadership candidate also denounced the UK's drug laws as 'pathetic and outrageous'

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The Independent Online

Most Conservative ministers have “almost certainly” tried drugs, the Liberal Democrat leadership candidate and former health minister Norman Lamb has said.

Calling the UK’s drug laws “pathetic and outrageous”, he said it was “crazy” that while Government ministers could dismiss their own drug-taking as “youthful indiscretion” other drug-users could be criminalised and have their career prospects damaged.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research, the MP for North Norfolk said: “We have this crazy situation that, almost certainly, more than half of this government – half of the government ministers in a Conservative government – will have taken drugs in their younger years.


“They put it down, in a very middle-class way, to youthful indiscretion, while other fellow citizens end up criminalised and their careers blighted as a result of taking a substance that is less dangerous than substances that are entirely legal.”

Mr Lamb has previously called for the UK to legalise and regulate cannabis, and said that the country could follow the example of US states including Colorado, where cannabis for recreational use among over 21s has been legal since 2012.

He told The Independent that while he was personally “hostile” to drugs, and would not want his children to take them, he believed criminalisation had failed, and that a regulated approach would be safer.

“Our party has got to make a stand on issues like this if we are to have a clear purpose, a liberal purpose,” he said.