I smoked pot and it did me no harm says Tory
Daily Mail : 13 March 1998

I smoked pot and it did me no harm says Tory

A Tory MP admitted yesterday that he had smoked cannabis as a young man and claimed it had done him no harm.

David Prior, 43, whose father James served as a Cabinet Minister came out publicly after a survey indicated that one in five of the new intake of MPs had used drugs.

The same poll for a TV program showed 65% of new MPs were in favour of a Royal Commission to look into legalising cannabis.

Mr Prior said: "One of the problems about having a rational discussion about drugs is that a lot of people have got so many preconceptions. Often they are wrong. A huge number of people are exposed to drugs who are completely conventional, like myself."

But his views contrasted sharply with Jack Straw who has been opposed to drugs since his student days.

Although many MPs in his own party privately believe that cannabis should be decriminalised, The Home Secretary said he had not seen "any good reason" for agreeing with them.

"If we decriminalise (soft) drugs, there would be a huge, massive increase in consumption", he said.

Mr Straw added: "Governments set up Royal Commissions when they are uncertain what to do about something."

"We are not uncertain about this."

Mr Prior, the MP for North Norfolk, admitted that he smoked cannabis for a few years during his early twenties.

Asked why he had owned up, he told Radio 4's The World this Weekend: "I could not honestly live with myself talking about drugs if I did not admit to people that I had taken them myself."

Mr Prior said he did not know enough about the medical effects to say whether cannabis should be legalised.

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