The closure of London super-club Fabric is a reminder that the war on drugs has failed, the Liberal Democrats have said.
The club, which opened in 1999 and has played host to some of the world’s most famous DJs, was shut down this week after accidental deaths involving drugs occurred on its premises.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had declined to take a side in the dispute, saying it was for the Metropolitan Police and Islington Council to work out between them.
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson, said revoking the club’s license would “not make the blindest bit of difference” to the unregulated underground drugs trade.
He reiterated the Lib Dem policying of decriminalising drugs and called for a greater focus on recovery services for people who abused them.
“This highlights the catastrophic failure of the so-called ‘war on drugs’, which has done nothing to reduce the public health harm caused by drugs and has only succeeded in driving the drug culture further underground,” Mr Lamb told the Independent.
“It’s only right that there should be accountability at Fabric in light of these tragic deaths and clear failures of process.
“But revoking the licence of this nightclub will not make the blindest bit of difference to the fact that thousands of young people in this country are using dangerous drugs purchased from criminals, without any idea of what they contain or the effects they might have.
"If they aren’t taking drugs in this particular nightclub, they will only take them somewhere else.
“If we are serious about minimising the devastating harm caused by drugs, we must start to recognise drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one. No less an authority than the Royal Society for Public Health recently advocated decriminalising the personal use and possession of all illegal drugs on public health grounds. Decriminalisation, evidence-based education, and a stronger focus on treatment and recovery services must be at the heart of our approach.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said during a leadership hustings last month that he would like there to be a discussion about the future of drug laws, though he ruled out legalising the very hardest drugs.
The Government has shown no sign of moving towards decriminalisation - instead choosing to criminalise further previously legal highs.
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