The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Victoria Atkins MP, has come under fire over the revelations about her husband.
Campaign group Clear has revealed how the drugs minister, who fights against calls for the legalization and decriminalization of substances, is married to the managing director of British Sugar, Paul Kenward. One of British Sugar’s undertakings is growing cannabis seedlings for medicine.
Kenward’s company is in partnership with GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK biotech firm, which is developing an experimental treatment called Epidiolex, in order to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy. However, his wife is strictly against drug use and a process of legalization and regulation in the UK. At least, in Parliament she is.
Atkins previously rallied against drug consumption rooms (DCR) – or ‘shooting rooms’ – where addicts can safely abuse substances. In a drugs policy debate in summer 2017, she said: “We are talking about gun-toting criminals, who think nothing of shooting each other and the people who carry their drugs for them. What on Earth does my Honorable Friend think their reaction will be to the idea of drugs being regulated? Does he really think that these awful people are suddenly going to become law-abiding citizens? I do not share the optimism of others about tackling the problem through regulation.”
Peter Reynolds, the author of the exposé and president of Clear, wrote on its website: “Aside from the usual, hysterical and evidence-free claims that so-called ‘skunk’ cannabis is causing an enormous increase in mental illness, which she trots out repeatedly, she rejects any idea of regulation in drugs policy as a means of reducing harm.
“However, in what must be the most blatant hypocrisy ever from a government minister, Ms Atkins benefits directly from regulation of drugs. With this latest scandal the shameful truth about UK drugs policy and the corrupt nature of this Conservative government is highlighted once again.
“It is difficult to believe this bare-faced dishonesty can prevail in a country that was once held up as an example of honour and decency but as with so much that Theresa May has been responsible for since she entered government in 2010, we are disgraced, shamed and the electorate is treated with absolute contempt.”