LONDON — Britain’s Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said he has “no intention” of changing the country’s drug laws if his party wins the next election.
Speaking to Anne McElvoy, host of POLITICO’s new Power Play podcast, Opposition Leader Starmer said: “Other countries will take different approaches to those they have traditionally taken, but our approach is established and isn’t really the subject of much debate, even within the Labor Party. »
However, this is what some members of the party are demanding.
Earlier this year, Labor peer and former U.K. Home Secretary David Blunkett told POLITICO’s Westminster Insider podcast that there should be an “open debate” about how drug addiction victims are treated. processed, and urged Starmer to launch an inquiry into the decriminalization of drugs. Meanwhile, Labor Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched pilot schemes to end prosecutions of young people arrested for possessing cannabis in some London boroughs.
They are not the only ones changing their attitudes toward drug policies. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who hosted a meeting of progressive leaders in Montreal last weekend that Starmer also attended, introduced reforms to legalize the sale and use of cannabis. Several US states have adopted a similar approach. Closer to home, Germany recently passed legislation to liberalize its cannabis laws.
But Starmer insisted he would have other priorities if his party won Britain’s next general election, due in 2024. “We’re going to have a huge amount of work to do,” he said. “I will focus on the five government missions that I have defined. And we don’t have the bandwidth for much else, I’m afraid.
In a lengthy interview about his approach to world affairs, the Labor leader also said one of his priorities would be “the restoration of the United Kingdom and its reputation on the world stage.”
Starmer, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, added: “I think it’s a mistake to think that the only way to have influence or play a role on the world stage is is to return to the EU. I don’t think that’s true. And if we look at what has happened, for example, in the area of security, especially in the last 18 months since the conflict in Ukraine, we see that the anchor point is actually the NATO and not the EU.”
You can hear the full interview with Keir Starmer in the inaugural episode of Power Play here and on all podcast platforms.