On Thursday 30 October, MPs took part in a debate on a motion relating to the UK drugs policy. This debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, opened the debate. Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Diana Johnson, responded to the debate for the Opposition. Home Office Minister, Norman Baker, responded on behalf of the Government.
Watch the debate and read the transcript
Text of the Motion
MPs debated the following motion:
"That this House notes that drug-related harms and the costs to society remain high; further notes that the independent UK Drugs Policy Commission highlighted the fact that Government is spending around £3 billion a year on policies that are often counter-productive; believes that an evidence-based approach is required in order for Parliament and the Government to pursue the most effective drugs policy in the future; welcomes the recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee in its Ninth Report of 2012-13, HC 184, that the Government consider all the alternatives to the UK’s failing drug laws and learn from countries that have adopted a more evidence-based approach; notes that the Government has responded positively to this recommendation and is in the process of conducting an international comparators study to consider the effectiveness of national drug policies adopted by a range of countries; and calls on the Government to conduct an authoritative and independent cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and to publish the results of those studies within the next 12 months."
The motion was agreed to without division.
The following select committee report was identified as relevant to the debate:
Backbench Business Committee
The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays at 1pm to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject, including those raised in e-petitions or national campaigns.
An MP must make a representation before the Committee for an e-petition or petition to be debated; e-petitions exceeding the Government's 100,000 signature threshold are not automatically allocated backbench time.
The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV.