By Roland Sebestyén
A radio caller once again forced Sir Keir Starmer to explain why he’s against legalising cannabis while, for example, London’s Mayor has just announced a pilot scheme for decriminalisation.
The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, was on LBC’s talk show this morning where the politician was questioned on a number of matters, from domestic politics to drug laws.
In a segment where Mr Starmer was answering questions from the public, a caller, Jay, was curious as to why the Labour Party leader was against legalising cannabis.
The caller was intrigued to know why Mr Starmer was “still insisting on treating people like me as criminals?”
Mr Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, has expressed his disagreement with easing drug laws in the past – most recently a few months ago.
He reiterated his position today.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, said: “I have looked at many, many, many drugs cases when I was Chief Prosecutor for five years and I had I don’t know how many thousand drug cases on my desk and I saw the damage they do across our society.
“I don’t think we should change the law. Am I in favour of more health responses? Yes, I am. Am I in favour of anything that helps people with addiction? Yes, I am.
“But I don’t think the answer is simply to decriminalise and say that ‘drugs are no longer unlawful.’ I’m sorry but I disagree with it.”
— LBC (@LBC) January 17, 2022
The caller then pointed out that while there are some who can jump on a plane and get to the Netherlands and Germany to enjoy cannabis legally, others who cannot afford such journeys could be prosecuted doing exactly the same in the UK.
The caller, Jay, said: “You’re only looking at the worst cases in society.”
Mr Starmer responded: “If we take just one of the big issues at the moment – county-line drug-running this going on from London to various counties – then that ends up in huge criminal offences; it [also] ends up with dead youngsters on the streets of London, I’m afraid.
“I’ve seen too many of those cases to simply say ‘let’s just rip up the laws and have no drug laws.’”
When asked, Sir Keir acknowledged London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposal to – essentially – decriminalise cannabis in three London boroughs for those aged between 18 and 24. Those close to the project claim it is not decriminalisation rather a prevention scheme.
Mr Starmer said he would look into the scheme when it’s finished but reiterated that he’s against changing the law.