ANDOVER’S MP has urged the prime minister to urgently reform laws to deal with drug possession.

Kit Malthouse spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, September 13, encouraging PM Rishi Sunak to commit to tackling the issue.

In October last year a consultation closed on the Swift, Certain, Tough: New Consequences for Drug Possession White Paper, which will inform the Government’s approach to reforming the way the criminal justice system deals with adult drug possession offences and to changing drug testing on arrest powers.

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Mr Malthouse questioned whether the Government will commit to bringing in legalisation to deal with the problem.

He said: “The 10-year drug strategy which with its ADDER project is now turning lives around across England and Wales but a key part of that strategy was developing a new approach to possession. He will know from his own constituency that in towns like Andover in mine, possession is of huge concern, particularly to parents of young people who spend some time in the town centre.”

Project ADDER seeks to ensure that more people get effective treatment and recovery provision.

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Mr Malthouse continued: “The Home Office issued a White Paper on this over a year ago, the consultation closed in October last year. So, can I ask the prime minister to commit that in the forthcoming King’s Speech, we can see some legislation to finally deal with this pernicious problem?”

In response, Mr Sunak said: “He is right to highlight that drugs destroy lives and families hitting the most vulnerable in our society the hardest. The 10-year drug strategy which he helped put in place is ambitious and backed with a record £3bn funding. We have consulted on a new drug possession offences framework, and I can assure him that ministers will keep him and this House updated on future plans.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Malthouse told the Advertiser: “In towns like Andover, drugs have been a major problem. Despite the great work by the police and an innovative 10-year strategy on addiction, the gangs will keep coming unless we can cut off demand as well. The White Paper which I devised, holds out the promise of a better, smarter future, but has yet to emerge as new legislation — so I will keep pushing for the reform we need in this area.”