Labour MP brings Bill to relax Britain's drug laws

A Labour MP is to introduce a Bill to Parliament that would decriminalise the use of cannabis. Paul Flynn's Bill follows a Police Foundation report backing relaxation of drug laws and the end of prison terms to punish cannabis offences.

Mr Flynn, Member for Newport West, said yesterday he believed there had been a sea change in public attitudes towards drug use, and Britons now understood tough laws were causing more problems than they were solving.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The point of this Bill is to make sure the splendid report from the Police Foundation is not kicked aside and ignored. They made the point very strongly that those countries in Europe with the most repressive laws on drugs - and we are by far the worst - have the greatest problems.

"Other countries, which have taken the line of intelligent, regulated decriminalisation, have fewer problems than we have and their problems are going down.

"The example of Holland comes up very clearly in the report, showing that after 20 years of soft-drug decriminalisation in Holland, they have fewer users of soft and hard drugs, and they use those drugs in milder forms and in safer ways than we do here."

Mr Flynn said he was heartened by a recent editorial in The Daily Telegraph calling for cannabis to be decriminalised.

"I believe the whole population is moving in this direction," he said. "We have been following policies for years in which we send cannabis users to prison and they come out heroin addicts. Nothing makes sense in these policies."