Suffolk MPs' cannabis confessions

A STRING of Suffolk MPs today admitted smoking cannabis after being quizzed about drugs by The Evening Star.

A STRING of Suffolk MPs today admitted smoking cannabis after being quizzed about drugs by The Evening Star.

Out of the county's seven MPs only ONE denied using cannabis in the past, while three, including Ipswich MP Chris Mole, openly admitted smoking the drug.

Not a single MP in the county admitted to using cocaine in the past.

Mr Mole said: “I am quite happy to confess that I indulged in the odd bit of cannabis smoking when I was a student as many did of my generation.

“I strongly supported the decision when David Blunkett was Home Secretary to move classification on the basis of the evidence of the expert panel and I am quite surprised that so soon after that it is being suggested that there is a new perspective although I can entirely understand because a lot is now being made of stronger strains of cannabis.”

The current law on cannabis is to be reviewed to decide whether it should be reclassified from its current status as a Class C drug.

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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith caused a stir last week when she admitted to having smoked cannabis at university, and her confession was followed by that of other cabinet members.

Amongthe Suffolk MPs who have admitted previously using the drug are Ipswich MP Chris Mole, South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo and West Suffolk MP Richard Spring.

West Suffolk MP David Ruffley refused to comment on whether he had smoked cannabis or taken cocaine saying that he agreed with party leader David Cameron's view that politicians are entitled to a “private life” prior to entering public life.

Another MP who refused to reveal if he had smoked cannabis or taken cocaine was former cabinet minister John Gummer who represents Suffolk Coastal.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard was unavailable to answer questions on cannabis or cocaine use despite calls from The Star over several days. A spokeswoman for Mr Blizzard said he was “busy in meetings”.

Out of all the county's MPs only Sir Michael Lord, deputy speak in the House of Commons, categorically denied having used cannabis.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, said he believes he has smoked the drug once in a New York taxi in his student days but did not realise what it was.

He said: “I was with two other people and they rolled up a cigarette and pushed it in my mouth. I thought it smelled funny. It didn't do anything for me, though. I asked them what it was and they just giggled, so I suppose it must have been cannabis. I didn't like it and never had any again. I don't like cigarettes.”

Tim Yeo admitted back in 2000 that he has used cannabis in the past saying he had been “offered it on occasion and enjoyed it”.

John Gummer did not reveal if he had taken cocaine or cannabis in the past.

n Does it matter if an MP has taken drugs in the past? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

cannabis cocaine

Chris Mole Ipswich yes no

Tim Yeo South Suffolk yes no

Richard Spring West Suffolk yes no

David Ruffley Bury St Edmunds no comment no comment

Michael Lord Central Suffolk no no

John Gummer Suffolk Coastal no comment no comment

Bob Blizzard Waveney unavailable to comment

n Cannabis is also known as marijuana, grass, weed, dope or puff.

n The drug has a mildly sedative effect, which leads to decreased blood pressure, increased appetite, feelings of relaxation, mild intoxication and increased sociability.

n High doses can cause coma, but there are no records of fatal overdose. Heavy use can lead to confusion, aggravate existing mental disorders and sap energy.

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