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Deputy PM Nick Clegg in Colombia calls for new drugs policy in the UK

Tuesday, February 4th 2014 - 23:09 UTC
Full article 36 comments
President Santos received the British leader at the presidential palace in Bogotá President Santos received the British leader at the presidential palace in Bogotá

The UK should abandon its current drugs policy because the war on drugs is not being won, Nick Clegg has said. Speaking on a visit to Colombia, the deputy prime minister said different approaches were needed although he did not back full legalization. He also praised President Juan Manuel Santos commitment to the peace process with FARC and welcomed the human rights' policy.

 The Lib Dem leader said his party would publish a report on an alternative strategy later this year. The Home Office said there was no need to review Britain's drug laws, pointing out that illegal drug use is falling.

Apparently according to BBC, Mr. Clegg was frustrated by the Conservatives' refusal to set up a Royal Commission on the issue and had asked the current drugs minister, Lib Dem Norman Baker, to complete an international review.

Speaking after meeting former guerrilla fighters and victims of what he called the “terrible conflict” in Colombia, he said the war on drugs had cost tens of thousands of lives, destroyed communities and forced people to live in constant fear.

Mr. Clegg said British politicians owed it to young people in the UK and countries like Colombia to look at different approaches - although he insisted he was not advocating full legalization. Nevertheless, his party review will look at the impact of legalization of marijuana in Uruguay and some US states, as well as the decriminalization of all drugs in Portugal.

In December 2012, Mr Clegg backed a Royal Commission on drugs; just days after PM David Cameron rejected the idea.

A Royal Commission is a public inquiry, established by the head of state, into a defined subject and overseen by a commissioner who has quasi-judicial powers.

Mr. Clegg has said he wants to break “the conspiracy of silence” of politicians, while in government, refusing to consider alternatives to the war on drugs because it is “all too controversial” He added, “If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform”.

The British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also met with President Juan Manuel Santos at the Presidential Palace in Bogotá as part of his record breaking trade visit to Latin America, which also includes Mexico.

At the meeting the Mr. Clegg reinforced the increasingly strong political dialogue between the UK and Colombia and discussed the growing economic relationship; in particular, the deepening science, innovation and education links between the UK and Colombia.

The Deputy Prime Minister also announced a new bilateral target and investment of £ 4 billion by 2020, having met the 2015 target of £1.75 billion. Other issues addressed by the two leaders included the Colombian peace process and human rights.

Mr. Clegg re-emphasized the UK’s support to Colombia in the ongoing peace process as negotiations with the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) continue and regarding human rights the Deputy PM welcomed President Santos’s commitment to establishing a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to human rights abuses, and also discussed the need to focus on protecting human rights defenders throughout the process.

Top Comments

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  • Anglotino

    Colombia continuing along the quiet path of diplomacy. As Argentina continues to slide into irrelevance, Colombia is starting to take on the role of the most powerful Spanish speaking country in South America.

    Also no mention of the Falkland Islands!

    Feb 04th, 2014 - 11:28 pm 0
  • CabezaDura2

    1) I think that whit the last devaluation Colombia has supplanted Argentina as the second largest economy of South America, its being like that since 2012 but it must official now... It would be a good lesson and a shock of reality and humiliation for CFK if she is not allowed to sit in the G20 this year and instead President Santos sits in her chair...

    Feb 05th, 2014 - 12:09 am 0
  • Condorito

    Clegg announced an alternative drug strategy as Avianca announced a new direct route from Bogota to London. Nice.

    @2 CD
    “I think that whit the last devaluation Colombia has supplanted Argentina as the second largest economy of South America”

    Before the devaluation it was close. At 8 to 1 most certainly. If/when the peso reached the parallel rate, it will be by a wide margin.

    Now there is no ketchup in McDonalds we can't even use the Economist Big Mac index.

    Feb 05th, 2014 - 12:58 am 0
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