Lords back mephedrone ban
A ban on mephedrone and other so-called "legal highs" was backed by the Lords today amid accusations ministers were guilty of a "knee-jerk" response.
Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead denied the charge from the Liberal Democrats, telling peers the Government first become aware of mephedrone last summer.
He said revellers at the Isle of Wight music festival had been found to be taking the drug, which has effects similar to ecstasy and amphetamine.
The minister said the drug, which is part of a group of substances known as cathinones, had been linked to a number of deaths in the UK.
He said the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) wrote to Home Secretary Alan Johnson in September and then later in December, when it informed him there was "evidence of harm".
Mr Johnson then waited for the "full, proper advice" that arrived in March before deciding to ban the drug.
The ACMD has been rocked by a series of high profile resignations in recent months after the chief drugs adviser, Professor David Nutt, was sacked last October for publicly disagreeing with the Government's decision to reclassify cannabis.
Only last week, Eric Carlin became the latest ACMD expert to resign, claiming ministers had pledged to ban mephedrone to appear to be "acting tough" in the run-up to the election.
He said experts were being ignored and the council was "not doing its job".
Today Lord West told peers: "In terms of being a knee-jerk reaction, I don't think that is the case."
He added: "I think it was acting very properly and quickly as we needed to do."
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...