On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last week’s elections for police and crime commissioners had two remarkable characteristics that should concern the House. On the one hand, they had the lowest participation in any national election ever, and on the other hand, they had the highest number of rejected, spoilt ballot papers ever, when 120,000 people who thought themselves disfranchised wrote powerful, vigorous and emphatic messages on their ballot papers. Should not those messages be sampled and reported to this House?
What recent assessment she has made of the Government’s drugs strategy; and if she will make a statement.
The Government published an assessment of the drug strategy in May 2012. We are making good progress. Drug use remains at its lowest since measurement began in 1996. We have the highest numbers completing treatment, and the drug sector is refocusing its approach to move beyond treatment and achieve recovery.
The Welsh police unit involved in Operation Tarian reports that the effect of a ban on mephedrone has been to double its use in Wales. Will the Minister bear that in mind when considering a ban on the drug khat, which would almost certainly lead to an increase in use and drive a wedge between the police and the Yemeni and Somali populations?
We are always open to strong evidence-based research on how to reduce the harm from drugs, but it is worth bringing to the House’s attention the fact that existing illegal drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine have seen a dramatic fall in their use, while there has been quite a big increase in legal drug consumption. It is not automatically the case that making something legal leads to a reduction in its consumption.