Former Labour minister calls for drugs legalisation

Bob Ainsworth MP called for the legalisation of all drugs, claiming that current policy "perpetuates

The former home office minister, Bob Ainsworth, has called for the decriminalisation of all drugs.

After recently departing from the front benches, Ainsworth feels able to express his true feelings about his policy on drugs. He claims that the current system of prohibition is a failure and cannot prove effective.

"It is time to replace our failed war on drugs with a strict system of legal regulation, to make the world a safer, healthier place, especially for our children," said Ainsworth.

Ainsworth claims that drugs cause damage to society through gang and criminal warfare.

"As drugs minister in the Home Office I saw how prohibition fails to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, fuelling burglaries, gifting the trade to gangsters and increasing HIV infections," argued Ainsworth. "The war on drugs creates the conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade"

Ainsworth described how strict legislation would have to be passed to control the distribution of drugs, similar to those of alcohol. He added that they could be sold under licence and through prescriptions from doctors: "We must take the trade away from organised criminals and hand it to the control of doctors and pharmacists."

All three of the main parties have objected to the legalisation of drugs. Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire responded: "Drugs are harmful and ruin lives - legalisation is not the answer. Decriminalisation is a simplistic solution that fails to recognise the complexity of the problem and ignores the serious harm drug taking poses to the individual."

Anti-drugs campaigner Debra Bell argued that "just the fact that Bob Ainsworth is talking in this way will send strong signals to some children - a green light - to start experimenting and I really don't think that's the way forward in a civilised society."

However, not all responses have been negative. Labour MP Paul Flynn said: "This could be a turning point in the failing UK war on drugs".

The idea quickly gained support across the web, with the comments sections of news articles broadly positive. Many comments, however, were angry that Ainsworth did not address this issue when in a position of power.