Keir Starmer backs relaxation of Class A drugs law in Scotland

© PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

– PA

Sir Keir Starmer has expressed support for a decision to relax drug laws for those found in possession of Class A substances in Scotland.

Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain announced that those caught with Class A substances – such as heroin, ecstasy or cocaine – could be let off with a warning rather than prosecution.

The scheme will allow police to use their discretion on cases of individual use only, while those caught supplying drugs to others will still face criminal charges.

The Labour leader said Ms Bain’s decision was “probably the right thing to do”, telling ITV: “It’s an independent decision that has been made.”

Although Sir Keir described discretion in certain cases as “sensible,” he denied it amounted to decriminalisation – saying there was a world of difference between the reform and “ripping up” drugs laws entirely.

Home secretary Priti Patel pounced upon his remarks. “Drugs devastate lives,” she tweeted. “They ruin communities and tear families apart. Under Keir Starmer, Labour is weak on crime and weak on the causes of crime.”

Sir Keir’s comments come after Scottish Labour backed Ms Bain’s decision, announced earlier this week. The party’s drugs policy spokesperson Claire Baker MSP said she hoped the move away from criminalisation would lead to more drug users getting support.

In the interview with ITV’s Representing Border, Sir Keir said: “There is a world of difference between a decision not to prosecute a particular case and ripping up the drug laws.”

He added: “I don’t think many people would argue that that discretion isn’t sensible. The very same in Scotland – there is a world of difference between that exercise and saying ‘do you think drug laws should be scrapped?’ To which my answer is no.”

Under current laws in Scotland, officers can already use their discretion to issue warnings to those caught with Class B and C drugs, such as cannabis. Following Ms Bain’s announcement, this has now been extended to Class A substances.

Describing the change as a “smart use of the law”, Scotland’s drug minister Angela Constance hailed the move as “very significant” as the country experiments with new ideas in a bid to reduce its drugs death toll – which reached a record 1,339 in 2020.

The SNP minister told BBC Radio Scotland the change had been welcomed by all parties at Holyrood “with the exception of the Conservatives”.

Scottish Tory justice spokesman Jamie Greene said the change amounted to “effective an effective decriminalisation of drugs”, adding: “People will now be receiving the same punishment for carrying Class A drugs as they would for urinating in public.”

He insisted the Scottish government “must rethink this dangerous approach, which dilutes how seriously we treat possession of the most deadly drugs in our society”.

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Metroid Dread Hanubia items walkthrough – 100% completion guide

© Provided by GamePur Hanubia is the rainy, penultimate stage of Metroid Dread. While it’s smaller than most other zones on Planet ZDR, it’s still got a few nice pick-me-ups ... Read more »

Only 6,900 pick'ems remain perfect after group B's second round-robin at the 2021 World Championship

© Provided by Dot Esports The group stage of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship has been anything but predictable, even more so two days into the second round-robin. ... Read more »

Starc's clarity of role brings confidence in white-ball cricket

It’s been a lengthy wait for everyone between men’s T20 World Cups – five years – but it’s been even longer for Mitchell Starc who missed the 2016 event due ... Read more »

Pemimpin agama mesti pimpin pembaharuan hapus kahwin bawah umur, kata Ahli Parlimen

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman berkata masih perlu ada konsensus masyarakat mengenai penghapusan perkahwinan bawah umur. PETALING JAYA: Pemimpin agama harus memimpin pembaharuan dan ... Read more »

Warga kota teruja dapat pulang ke kampung

© Provided by Sinar Harian GOMBAK – Rata-rata warga kota teruja untuk pulang ke kampung bertemu sanak saudara dan tidak perlu lagi berkomunikasi melalui panggilan video selepas kerajaan membenarkan rentas ... Read more »

Villapadu, Terengganu's best homestay experience

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today This luxurious bedroom is one of four at Villapadu Desa in Kuala Terengganu. (Muhaimin Marwan @ FMT Lifestyle) KUALA TERENGGANU: With state borders now ... Read more »

When Iwan Iwanoff designed a house it came with custom furniture and fit-outs

© Provided by ABC NEWS Iwan Iwanoff’s work is known for its smart design and awareness of the landscape. This is the view through a brick screen at Roberts House ... Read more »

February has emerged as the favourite month for an extra bank holiday, new poll shows

© Eamonn Farrell The extra bank holiday is being considered as part of plans to pay tribute to frontline workers. As part of a monthly series, The Journal and Red ... Read more »

SM Markets innovates, offers resto products

© Provided by PhilStar Global SM Markets innovates, offers resto products MANILA, Philippines — SM Markets has redeveloped the dining experience for customers of its partner stores by making their ... Read more »

Prince Charles praises son William's work to save the planet

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The Prince of Wales last night praised Prince William for his work to save the planet, saying: ‘I am very proud of my ... Read more »

Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, Damien Harris, more RBs affecting Week 6 start 'em, sit 'em calls

Few things are worse in fantasy football than a late-afternoon player being “questionable,” and in Week 6, there are at least five key RBs (Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, Damien Harris, ... Read more »

Kentucky's Late TD Provides Bettors With One of the Worst Beats of the Season

© Provided by Sports Illustrated Mark Stoops called a timeout with seven seconds to go on third-and-goal, and the Wildcats were able to convert for a touchdown to cover the ... Read more »

Mary Berry reveals she underwent surgery for broken hip

Dame Mary Berry has revealed she underwent surgery for a broken hip after tripping over in her garden. The former Great British Bake Off host, 86, spent 10 days in ... Read more »

Selena Gomez Says Being 'Completely Unaware' of What's Going On in Pop Culture Makes Her Happy

© Raymond Hall/GC Images There are many things that make Selena Gomez happy. One of them is her infrequent use of social media to know what is going on in ... Read more »

ISKCON temple attacked and devotee killed in Bangladesh; Delhi sees move to stir trouble

© Provided by The Indian Express An ISKCON temple in Bangladesh was vandalised and a devotee killed by a mob — this was the fifth death since Thursday — and ... Read more »

J&K: Poonch operation still on, Army death toll goes up to 9

© Provided by The Indian Express The operation to flush out militants hiding in forests in the border district of Poonch in J&K has claimed the lives of nine Army ... Read more »

Students headed home from West pay 3x pre-Covid fares

© Provided by The Times of India MUMBAI: Indian students studying abroad continue to bear the brunt of travel restrictions imposed by India on scheduled airline international flights. The latest ... Read more »

Vyara Taluka Panchayat: BJP wins majority in local body as 5 Cong members join party

© Provided by The Indian Express Five elected members of Congress in the Vyara Taluka Panchayat in Tapi district joined BJP on Saturday thereby making it the single largest party ... Read more »

Queensland records zero cases of COVID-19

© Provided by ABC News Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young speaking at a COVID press conference. (ABC News: Scott Kyle) Queensland has recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight.  ... Read more »

Didn't change your Twitch password after the data leak? You should. Here's how

Popular streaming platform Twitch  confirmed that it was the victim of a data leak last week, which included source code and earnings. Twitch said it doesn’t believe credit card numbers or login credentials ... Read more »

Meghan Markle Loves This Tinted Moisturizer & It's On Sale — But Only This Weekend

© MEGA. When doesn’t Meghan Markle look flawless? Never — that’s when. The Duchess of Sussex’s skin is always glowing and naturally gorgeous-looking, so we’re always on the lookout for ... Read more »

COVID-19 underscores need to diversify Tahoe tourist economy

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, Lilyana Allen, of Guam, uses a telescope to view Lake Tahoe from an observation platform at ... Read more »

Off-duty FDNY firefighter arrested for DWI after crash into parked car

Yusbin Diaz was charged with a DWI for the incident. Getty Images An off-duty FDNY firefighter was arrested Saturday morning for allegedly driving drunk and crashing a car in Brooklyn, ... Read more »

What the papers say – October 17

Revelations about the suspect arrested over the fatal stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess lead most of Sunday’s papers. The Sunday Telegraph reports the suspect had previously been referred ... Read more »

Arizona launches $36M program to help families pay utility bills

© The Hill Arizona launches $36M program to help families pay utility bills The Arizona Department of Economic Security announced Friday that it is launching a program to provide $36 ... Read more »

Newly-Released Court Documents Suggest Couple Hog-Tied Woman's 88-Year-Old Grandmother Before Murder

A girlfriend and boyfriend in Virginia were arrested early this week over the death of the woman’s 88-year-old grandmother. New details shine a grisly light on the octogenarian’s brutal murder. ... Read more »

DOH has final say on alert level – Abalos

© Boy Santos, file DOH has final say on alert level – Abalos MANILA, Philippines — Following claims that Metro Manila mayors were not consulted on the downgrading of the ... Read more »

BSP chief cites advantages of open finance framework

© STAR/File BSP chief cites advantages of open finance framework MANILA, Philippines — The implementation of an open finance framework may lead to the introduction of more customer-centric financial products ... Read more »

Government urged to revise green energy option

© Provided by PhilStar Global Government urged to revise green energy option MANILA, Philippines — The government must revise some requirements under the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) to spur ... Read more »

Strictly fans in shock as they think Adam almost kisses Katya after sexy dance

Strictly Come Dancing fans were shocked by a performance between Adam Peaty and Katya Jones on Saturday night – with many viewers convinced the dance partners almost locked lips live ... Read more »

Conor McGregor celebrates son Rian's christening in lavish Vatican ceremony

Conor McGregor and his extended family enjoyed a plush celebration in the Vatican City on Friday as his son Rian was christened. The UFC legend is currently nursing a broken ... Read more »

New rent report lists Kelowna as 4th most expensive place in Canada

In a somewhat surprising report, Kelowna was ranked as having the fourth-most expensive rental prices in the nation. © Google Maps According to website Zumper.com, the median price of a ... Read more »

Brother of British man murdered with his family in Alps accuses French police of ‘cover-up'

THE brother of a British man murdered with his family in the Alps has accused French police of a cover-up. Zaid al-Hilli says the family was just in the wrong ... Read more »

Teluk Cempedak tenang, tidak begitu sesak

KUANTAN – Pusat peranginan Pantai Teluk Cempedak di sini antara lokasi pelancongan yang dijangka menjadi pilihan pengunjung selepas kerajaan membenarkan aktiviti rentas negeri bagi mereka yang menerima vaksin lengkap bermula ... Read more »

Armed Forces face new Battle of the Bulge as troops record whopping 55-inch waistlines

TROOPS face a new Battle of the Bulge — with waistlines measuring 55in. Many have been prescribed diet pills, with others kicked out of the armed forces for being too ... Read more »

Tom Coughlin toughing out severe injury helped inspire Giants to Super Bowl

Tom Coughlin was going to finish the damn game, even though his left leg was begging him to quit. The Giants, coached by Coughlin, were playing the Jets on Christmas ... Read more »

Casey Martin has right leg amputated due to rare circulatory disease

Casey Martin, the Oregon golf coach who successfully sued the PGA Tour for the right to use a cart because of a rare circulatory disease, had his right leg amputated ... Read more »

Private varisty V-C to preside over Gujarat Vidyapith convocation

© Provided by The Indian Express In a rare scenario, vice-chancellor of a private university will preside over the 67th convocation of Gujarat Vidyapith on October 18 with the name ... Read more »

Chinese imports defy self-reliance push, border issues; input products remain key

© Provided by The Indian Express Despite India’s efforts to reduce dependence on Chinese imports amid an increased emphasis on self-reliance as well as escalating tensions along the border, the ... Read more »

Fire Crews Work to Repair Containment Lines of California's Caldor Fire

Fire crews repaired containment lines along the borders of the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, California, aerial footage shared by USFS Caldor Fire on October 14 shows. The fire, ... Read more »