Letter: The positive side of soft drugs

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The Independent Online
Sir: On Friday morning Michael Howard claimed that Labour MEPs had voted to legalise hard and soft drugs in the European Parliament in support of the Taradash Report. Unfortunately for Mr Howard, on Friday morning the report was debated in Strasbourg, but voting was postponed through lack of a quorum.

If we had progressed to a vote, it would have been impossible to legalise drugs as there is no proposal in the report along those lines, and no power within the report to bring this about.

Labour MEPs do not support legalisation of hard and soft drugs; some, myself included, support the decriminalisation, not 'legalisation', of soft drugs, along lines being suggested by sections of the police for Scotland, whereby possession of small quantities of soft drugs for personal use is dealt with by on-the-spot fines rather than incurring a criminal record. These distinctions will become clear on 23 February, when the report is due to be voted on in Brussels.

Yours truly,


MEP for Greater Manchester

East (Lab)

Mossley, Lancashire