Nick Clegg attacks Theresa May

Claims she wanted to edit the report by legalisation campaigners – but was there any need? Its Contents page exposes bias by excluding drugs prevention, drug-free treatment and recovery – and demolishes the concept of Portugal as a model.


The report, Drugs: International Comparators, starts with a Contents page that ignores abstinence and drug-free treatment and recovery. This alone makes for a flawed report.

But note on page 47 that it accurately summarises something that is rarely acknowledged when citing Portugal’s decriminalisation:

“Much of the most relevant data in this area comes from Portugal, as its reforms were fairly recent, and data from before, during and after implementation is easily available. It is important to note, however, that Portugal made a number of changes to its approach to drugs around the same time as implementing decriminalisation, including widespread implementation of harm-reduction programmes and an increase in investment in drug treatment. It is extremely challenging to disentangle the effects of decriminalisation from the effects of these wider changes.”

It follows this up on page 50 with:

“It is not clear that decriminalisation reduces the burden on the police. Portugal appeared to apply similar police resourcing to drugs after decriminalisation as before.”

And all we can find that Clegg might be citing in his media blitz is:

‘There is a lack of research and evaluation of prison-based treatment programmes and too little is known about their effectiveness.’   Not the same as evidence does not support…