Labour MSP Paul Sweeney has been caught out in his claim that the UK Labour Party supports his proposed Drug Death Prevention (Scotland) Bill as it emerged that his letters to Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, have been ignored.
Immediately after Mr Sweeney claimed on a Stooshie podcast that “there was no opposition to what we’re proposing” Ms Cooper’s office clarified that in fact, Mr Sweeney’s Bill “is not a proposal we have looked at or been involved in in any way”.
While Ms Cooper refuses to set out her position altogether, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer has repeatedly refused to back any relaxation of drug laws and said Tory policy on the issue is “roughly right”.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Mr Sweeney may choose to present the way he’s being treated by his own party bosses as affirmative silence, but the fact is his Labour Party bosses in London stand with the Tories on the issue of drug overdose prevention. This is why they haven’t called for the establishment of drug consumption rooms in Westminster or Wales.
“Drug policy is reserved to Westminster, which is why the Tory Government blocked the SNP Government’s prior attempts to legislate for the establishment of drug consumption rooms.
“The SNP is supportive of such a Bill in principle but the Tories won’t revisit the issue and we now know that neither would Labour in the event they were to ever get anywhere near No.10 again.
“Obviously, progress could best be made if such powers were under the control of the Scottish Parliament.”
James Nicholls, CEO of Transform Drugs Policy Foundation said Labour in Scotland appears to have been affected by “political calculation” in London.