Saturday, February 08, 2014

Deputy Prime Minister Clegg declares war on drugs 'unwinnable'

UK Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has declared the war against drugs “unwinnable”, after talks with President Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia.

Mr Clegg has long argued that the UK’s existing approach to illicit drugs is not working. As part of a record breaking trade visit to Latin America, the Liberal Democrat leader said “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform”, adding that, despite attempts by his Conservative coalition partners to block further investigation into an improved policy, the UK’s liberals would publish a report on an alternative strategy this year. The review will be completed by Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister, Norman Baker MP.

The result of Nick Clegg’s visit reinforces many of the points raised during Liberal International’s 191st Executive Committee meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, the theme of which was ‘Fighting Organised Crime’ and featured the panel discussion - ‘New Initiatives in the War on Drugs’. The Deputy Prime Minister added that his party would use its time in government to halt the ”conspiracy of silence” surrounding failed drug policies.

The liberal leader is the most senior British government minister to visit Colombia since 1992 and his visit coincides with the Santos government’s lifting of visa restrictions, meaning citizens living in the Schengen area countries of the EU will be able to travel to Colombia without registering for a visa. In a further signal of strengthened business relations between the UK and Colombia, after five years of talks, a deal has been struck that will see the first direct flights between the UK and Colombia for a decade.

[Thanks to Liberal International for this]

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