Just as Boris Johnson dressed up as a police office to announce a crackdown on drug crime, “rife” cocaine use has been reported within U.K Parliament. The Sunday Times newspaper has published a report outlining that several locations inside the Palace of Westminster, including the House of Lords and the House of Commons have tested positive for traces of Cocaine. The report also said that cannabis was also, “being used openly” within the location.
Cocaine is a class A drug in Britain which is the most serious classification a drug can get. Anyone found with the substance in their possession can face up to seven years in jail time. Supplying or producing cocaine can result in a life sentence, so these accusations are being taken very seriously.
House speaker Lindsey Hoyle has said, “the accounts of drug misuse in parliament given to the Sunday Times are deeply concerning”. Hoyle continued, “I will be raising them as a priority with the Metropolitan Police next week.” The police have not responded to the request for a comment.
The police have been called to investigate drug use in Parliament, covering areas such as the bathroom closest to Boris Johnson’s office and that of Home Secretary Priti Patel who is in charge of domestic security. Drug residue has been found in several other places including in rooms close to the Labour Party and the dining room in the House of Lords, as well as the Strangers’ Bar, a Thames side pub.
11 out of the 12 bathrooms tested for residue of cocaine were found positive. It is possible to determine who may have been involved in substance abuse as the different areas are access controlled. Some of these locations were restricted and can only be accessed by those with a parliamentary pass including, lawmakers, clerks, librarians, security personnel and journalists. The Victorian stairways within Parliament lead to many tea rooms and dining halls for deal making, but also lead to small enclosed closet sized spaces with drug use could be conducted. British journalist and staffers have described Westminster as a “bubble” with a “drinking culture” and confirmed that “there are some drugs being taken”.
In 2008 Boris Johnson confessed to snoring cocaine and smoking marijuana as a teenager, but that this was due to stress and that he now, “thoroughly disagrees with drugs”. He also said, “I don’t want my kids having drugs.”
The report has come at a time that Boris Johnson has recently announced a 10-year plan outlining this strategy for combating drug crime throughout the country in England and Wales and holding drug offenders accountable for their actions.
Boris Johnson even dressed up as a police officer to make the announcement. He has been pictured wearing dark police uniform with a dark hat with the word, “police” stitched into it in white. This image has been widely shared on social media, and became trending on witter with the hashtag #cocaine as some users found the irony in Boris Johnsons speech.