Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has told Sky News that he must call police after allegations that drug use is widespread in the Houses of Parliament.
Sir Lindsay calls for a fight against drugs – including sniffer dogs walking around the corridors – amid growing evidence that cannabis and cocaine are being used openly.
Allegations include a claim that a former MP put his drug dealer on Parliament’s payroll, claiming he was an employee, as a way to pay him for drugs.
And according to a report in The Sunday Times, the same former MP is rumored to have traded drugs himself, and at least one parliamentary aide has been fired for taking cocaine.
In response to the report, Sir Lindsay told Sky News: “The reports of drug abuse in Parliament given to The Sunday Times are deeply worrying and I will take them up as a priority with the Metropolitan Police next week.
“I expect to see full and effective law enforcement.
“While Parliament provides comprehensive support services to staff or members who may need help with substance abuse – and I would urge anyone struggling with such problems to accept such help – for those who choose to disregard the law and bring the institution in discredit, sanctions are severe. “
Sir Lindsay, 64, a diabetic, has spoken out against drug abuse in Parliament since becoming President in November 2019.
Speaking during his campaign to succeed John Bercow, he said: “It’s not just a drink we need to tackle, there’s a drug problem. I really believe that advice and real support should be available to all staff and members. “
In another step to crack down on drug abuse in Westminster, the House of Commons, which is responsible for running the House of Commons, will discuss the issue next week.
“The House of Commons has a long history of sniffer dogs being used to detect explosives,” Tory MP Charles Walker, chairman of the administration committee, told The Sunday Times.
“It may be that we now need to expand the range of sniffer dogs to include those that can detect drugs.”
The Sunday Times reported that Commons officials received reports last month that cannabis could melt in an open space between Portcullis House and 1 Parliament Street.
It came after it was revealed that two drug dealers were arrested and 13 people were detained for possession of drugs in or near parliament within a year.
The Sunday Times also reported that cloth discovery cloths found evidence of cocaine in 11 out of 12 toilets tested in the building, including some restricted to holders of parliamentary passports.
The locations are said to include toilets near the offices of Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel and a disabled-friendly bathroom on the Shadow Cabinet corridor in the Norman Shaw North building.
Figures released by the Metropolitan Police under freedom of information laws show that there were 17 drug crimes in or near parliament in the past year, and police investigated 38 offenses between 2015 and 2018.