Sacked government drug adviser says Gordon Brown is from another universe
Source: The Daily Telegraph
By Andrew Pierce
30 November 2009
The scientist who was sacked as the government’s chief adviser on drugs
has mocked Gordon Brown as someone whose views come from another “universe”.
An unrepentant Professor David Nutt reiterated his controversial
position that horse riding was more lethal than Ecstasy and suggested
that smoking cannabis during pregnancy was less dangerous than drinking
At a conference of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an organisation
which calls for the legalisation of many drugs, Prof Nutt accused the
Government of failing to protect people against the dangers of drugs.
“We have a Prime Minister whose view (on drugs) is formed in some other
universe,” he said.
He was sacked this month as head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse
of Drugs by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary who accused him of
”crossing a line into politics” after he criticised the decision to
reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug.
“When I was sacked Alan Johnson said he was ‘big enough, bold enough,
strong enough’ to make the decision. I’d say he’s not big enough, bold
enough or strong enough to tell the truth about drugs,” he said at the
conference at Leeds University on Sunday.
He also attacked Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Jacqui Smith or “Jackboot” as
he called her, saying that she phoned him 30 minutes before she was due
to answer questions about her expenses. He added: “When Charles Clarke
was Home Secretary he didn’t like my advice, but at least he had the
courage to accept it.”
During his 10 years on the advisory council he said he found talking
with politicians very difficult and that fewer people were now voting in
elections because the House of Commons is nothing more than a
“pantomime”. He said: “I never realised how unintellectual politicians are.”
In answer to a woman’s question about the harm of cannabis, after she
admitted smoking it while she was pregnant, he suggested its use while
pregnant was less harmful than drinking alcohol – because the cost to
the public of dealing with alcohol abuse is far higher than any illegal
He said: “Alcohol costs £1,000 pounds per year in excess health care
costs and about three times that of other costs.”
Since he was dismissed the professor said he said he had received
hundreds of emails from people, of which 95 per cent have been supportive.
After his dismissal five members of the advisory board handed in their
notice from the unpaid posts leaving the entire committee’s place within
Government in some doubt. Prof Nutt said: “The Government will find it
very difficult to appoint a new chairman.”
He said he will continue to offer advice to the Government and is
planning on setting up a parallel committee to work side by side with
the committee he was removed from.
He said: “Hopefully, this new independent board will be the first port
of call on drugs policy in the UK.” In the future he said he wants to
look into the possibility of creating a new, legal drug which could be a
safer alternative to alcohol.