Debate: Should MPs take mandatory drug tests?

Following the flurry of admissions to drug use by Conservative MPs this spring, a growing number of petitions have been launched to enforce mandatory drug tests for all parliamentarians.

The hashtag #TaketheTest was started in early June, and some online petitions amassed tens of thousands of signatures.

Peter Bray, who started the petition ‘Compulsory Drug Testing for MPs and Lords’, explains to MM the reason why he believes mandatory drug testing is so imperative.

“Like with the army, you’ve got the power of life and death and it’s the same with MPs. They’ve got their hands on the nuclear codes. Their judgement needs to be clear, it needs to be sound.

“If they are on drugs how can we trust them to pass the laws or repeal the laws or act within the interest of their communities and the country if their judgement is clouded?”

The issue has not yet been discussed in Parliament, but MPs do not appear to be supportive of the idea.

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, and former Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “I don’t support it. MPs should be treated the same as the rest of the population.”

Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, went a step further, saying “any calls for drug testing for MPs are a distraction from the real issue, which is our failing national drug policy.”

In an ironic twist, Newbury MP Richard Benyon chose not to give his thoughts on the matter, but told MM that he is in fact doing similar research.

“I am doing some research into whether journalists who think up pointless ideas which waste their and others [sic] time should themselves be the subject of random drug testing.”

It is unclear when Benyon is planning to publish his findings.

Image courtesy of D. Sinclair Terrasidius via Flickr, with thanks.


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