The United Kingdom’s house of parliament has a drug problem, one so deep that the Speaker of the House of Commons approached the police, and a Tory MP now suggesting that that sniffer dogs be deployed to patrol the premises.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle called allegations of drug use in the Palace of Westminster "deeply concerning" and said he would call the police as he wanted the “full and effective enforcement of the law”.
His move comes after a Sunday Times report of an investigation that found evidence of cocaine in 11 out of 12 locations tested in the building, including toilets near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office, as well as near the office of Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Many of the locations were only accessible to parliamentarians, the report said. It cited anonymous sources saying they had seen an MP “openly snorting cocaine at a party”.
A similar test in 2019, reported in Vice, also found traces of cocaine in the Norman Shaw North building.
Hoyle offered an olive branch to drug user MPs, saying parliament provides “extensive support services for any staff or members who may need help with drug misuse, and I would encourage anyone struggling with issues to take up such help.” At the same time, he said those who choose to “flout the law and bring the institution into disrepute” would face serious sanctions.
Conservative MP Charles Walker said the House of Commons had a "long history of using sniffer dogs to detect explosives" and said their range could be broadened to detect drugs.
Johnson has admitted to trying cocaine “at a party”. He told Piers Morgan that he tried it at university but that it achieved “no pharmacological, psycho tropical or any other effect on me whatsoever”. He also admitted to having had “many spliffs” (cannabis joints) prior to studying at university, describing it as “jolly nice”.
The report comes amid a new crackdown on illegal drug use in the UK, with Johnson himself suggesting that drug users could have their passports and driving licenses taken away. Later this week, Johnson is expected to launch a 10-year plan to tackle illegal drug-related crime.