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The Conservative government are planning to introduce legislation which would force big employers to carry out random drug tests on their employees – but MPs look set to be exempt from the policy.
Yesterday, the Home Secretary Priti Patel endorsed controversial plans drawn up by the Tory candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey.
Bailey’s plans would compel businesses with more than 250 employees to sign a drug test charter and carry out random drug tests on workers – with the results being made public.
The Tory Mayoral candidate says the policy is designed to reduce ‘middle-class cocaine usage‘ in the capital. However, MPs – who are notorious users of the drug – will be exempt.
Speaking to The S*n, Patel said she was considering nationwide implementation of Bailey’s plans – adding:
“Drugs affect everyone — whether it’s in the City of London, whether it’s in places of work.
“I’ve also seen it outside of London and in our cities. I’ve seen it in my own county of Essex.
“Parts of my county where there are middle-class drug users, effectively using county lines and children as runners.”
In response to Patel’s endorsement, Shaun Bailey said he was “grateful that the Home Secretary has come out in support of my Drug Test Charter“, adding:
“Drug use has exploded across London, particularly among middle-class users. And every drug deal fuels the gangs that unleash violence on our streets.
“We need to act. But Sadiq Khan’s only response is to defund the police by £110m.
“So as Mayor, I’ll ask businesses with over 250 employees to carry out regular and anonymised drug tests.”
When he announced the policy in August, Bailey said that “the way to start tackling a problem is to shine a light on it.“
However, despite cocaine usage among MPs being a notorious problem, the small print of Bailey’s plans means elected officials would not be included.
Whilst there are 650 MPs elected to serve in the House of Commons, each one is technically self-employed and considered an “office-holder” rather than an employee – meaning they do not fall under the bracket of firms with 250 employees or more.
Furthermore, the House of Commons is said to be awash with the drug – with an investigation carried out by Vice finding traces of cocaine throughout bathrooms and toilets within the building.
With Priti Patel backing drug testing for ordinary workers but not for herself and her colleagues, the phrase “one rule for us and one rule for them” will surely soon be on the public lips once again.