Sadiq Khan clashes with Boris Johnson over plans to begin decriminalising drugs in London


London’s Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan, 51, plans to end the prosecution of young people who are found in possession of cannabis and bring in a counselling scheme for those found with Class B narcotics, the Telegraph has revealed. Those aged under 25 in Lewisham, Bexley and Greenwich will be affected by the new scheme, which is reportedly set to be announced by Mr Khan later this month. 

Police officers patrolling the three boroughs have reportedly been told not to arrest young Londoners caught with cannabis, ketamine and even speed.

But the move looks set to put the Mayor at odds with Boris Johnson, 57, as the Prime Minister claimed the Government has been “ramping up” their campaign against county line networks and has even said passports could be removed from those caught with Class A substances.

Mr Johnson added: “Drugs are a scourge on our society, fuelling violence on our streets which communities across the country are forced to endure.

“That’s why, to cut crime and truly level up across the country, we must step up efforts to wipe out the vile county lines gangs who are blighting our neighbourhoods, exploiting children and ruining lives.

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“Backed by record investment, the strategy we’re setting out will attack supply and break the county lines model which sees criminals profit from people’s misery.

“Those who break the law will have nowhere to hide.”

Mr Johnson’s comments came after the Sunday Times reported several of Parliament’s lavatories areas showed traces of cocaine-use.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, 59, has also stressed the need for tougher action on drug use in the UK.

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The ex-director of the Crown Prosecution Service u-turned on his support for drug reform back in October when he voiced concern about moves made in Scotland to decriminalise drug possession.

However, the Telegraph’s report claims Mr Khan’s team at City Hall have seen research which indicates the Metropolitan Police’s time could be better spent tackling serious and violent crime instead of those in possession of Class B substances.

Mr Khan, who defeated 50-year-old Tory challenger Shaun Bailey in the tightly-contested 2021 London Mayoral Election, told residents in the capital he would set up a drugs commission to look at the law on cannabis.

Writing in his manifesto, the ex-Tooting MP said: “I will establish a London Drugs Commission comprising independent experts and leading figures from the fields of criminal justice, public health, politics, community relations and academia.

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“The Commission will pull together the latest evidence on the effectiveness of our drugs laws, but with particular focus on cannabis.”

However, it is believed the proposed move will be extended to cover the possession of all Class B drugs.


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