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British MP quits govt, criticising Conservatives

04 November 2014, 09:29

London - British Liberal Democrat lawmaker Norman Baker quit as a Home Office minister on Monday, citing the difficulties of working with his Conservative coalition partners.

The resignation follows a disagreement between Baker and senior Conservatives over drug policy, and highlights the tensions in the government of Prime Minister David Cameron six months ahead of a general election.

Baker, who was minister for crime prevention, criticised Conservative colleagues including his boss Home Secretary Theresa May in an interview with The Independent newspaper.

"They have looked upon it as a Conservative department in a Conservative government, whereas in my view it's a Coalition department in a Coalition government," Baker said.

"I have had to work very much harder to get things done even where they are what the Home Secretary agrees with and where it has been helpful for the Government and the department."

Review of drug laws

"There comes a point when you don't want to carry on walking through mud."

Baker last week called for a review of drug laws to ease penalties for possession, following a report that found no clear link between strict laws and levels of drug use.

In his resignation letter to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Baker wrote that in the Home Office the will "to take forward rational evidence-based policy has been in somewhat short supply", according to The Independent.

"The phrase 'soft on drugs' is used," Baker told the newspaper.

"If anyone is soft on drugs it's my Conservative colleagues, because they are the ones who allow the process to go on whereby drug dealers continue to make money and people continue to get fined and carry on taking drugs."

The Home Office declined to comment.


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