Harris and Huhne question legality of Labour’s ‘meow meow’ ban

With just a fortnight until the Government’s mephedrone ban comes into effect, Lib Dem MPs Chris Huhne and Evan Harris have challenged the legality of the move (though the party has supported the ban itself). Today’s Guardian reports:

Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said the six resignations from the government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs had left it inquorate and legally unable to issue formal advice to the home secretary. He also questioned how a decision to ban mephedrone without first publishing the council’s report on its potential harms complied with new government guidelines on the treatment of scientific advice.

He was backed up by the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, who also questioned how confident ministers were that the ban was being implemented in a “lawful manner and cannot be challenged in the courts”.

The 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act says that a home secretary cannot ban a substance without first taking formal advice from the advisory council on the misuse of drugs. The Government maintains the resignations have no material efect on its decision. The issue will be debated in the House of Commons on 8th April.

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9 Comments

  • Painfully Liberal 1st Apr '10 - 11:50am

    We should all be protesting this ban, it’s time for a meow meow uprising.

  • Andrew Suffield 1st Apr '10 - 1:01pm

    Ah yes. We don’t have any real evidence that it’s harmful, the experts are quitting because they’re being told to deliver politics instead of science, but some kids seem to like it so it must be banned. We can’t have young people enjoying themselves – why would they vote for the government then?

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Apr '10 - 8:59am

    Jock: let’s allow politicians to be politicians a little bit, shall we?

    Appalling as drug policy is, every pol assumes (and almost certainly rightly) that a liberalisation policy will be a phenomenally hard if not impossible sell in this Land of the Mail and the Sun, and that to be caught in possession of such a policy with intent to sell, while within 100 yards of a school building days of a general election, would result in being sent down for at least five years.

    It seems to me that our front bench have tried to find a way of opposing precipitate action and hopefully injecting a tiny little bit of rationality into the mainstream debate without getting blown up by the anti-drugs hysteria, and thus wrecking their chances of achieving real influence at the coming election over far wider areas of concern than the country’s (I’ll say it again) appalling but almost unreformable drug policy. I’d give them credit for that, in a highly imperfect world.

  • Appalling decision by the party to support this ban. We all know here why – that does not excuse it. I am sure that if we stood up and said we were for a liberalisation policy, separating ourselves from the duopoly, we could get credit.

    But at the end of the day I don’t care: prohibition is wrong, doesn’t work and causes more harm. There is no justification for this caricature of knee-jerk political reactions.

    I wouldn’t leave the party for it, but I do feel disinhearted.

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