17:57 GMT +313 November 2019
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    The Houses of Parliament are seen in London. (File)

    'Cokeservative Party'? Concerns Mount as Cocaine Traces Found in Half of UK Lawmakers' Bathrooms

    © AFP 2019 / JOHN D MCHUGH
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    Reports of alleged cocaine use by UK lawmakers go back to at least 2013, with traces of the illegal class-A drug similarly found in bathrooms on the grounds of the parliamentary estate.

    A VICE News investigation has found that nearly half of the secure bathrooms in the Houses of Parliament building accessible only to lawmakers and other high ranking officials appear to test positive for trace amounts of cocaine.

    Taking colour-changing drug swabs to nine areas, VICE found traces of the illegal drug in four locations, including the toilets outside two private bars reserved for lawmakers and their guests and two bathrooms near lawmakers' offices. A particularly large amount of cocaine residue was found while swabbing a bathroom opposite Strangers' Bar.

    Parliamentary passes are given out to members of the House of Commons and Lords, but also other high ranking officials, accredited parliamentary journalists and invited guests. According to Yahoo News, as many as 13,000 passes have been given out in total, making it difficult to determine who uses the drugs.

    However, an unnamed staffer told VICE that it's "a known thing" that drug use "happens in the offices," with another saying that "it's a relatively common occurrence to see people – particularly MPs' staff, particularly Tories – who are clearly gakked up."

    A parliamentary spokesman said "appropriate action would be taken" if drug use were to be identified on the estate, but also emphasised that the Houses of Parliament were a "public place" which welcomes "over a million visitors a year who have access to the facilities."

    The drug use evidence comes amid recent admissions by multiple high profile Conservative politicians that they had used drugs in the past. Michael Gove, former Conservative leadership candidate, admitted that he had used cocaine on "several occasions" during his time as a journalist. Other senior Tories including Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Rory Stewart also admitted to consuming cocaine, cannabis, or opium.

    British authorities take a tough line against Class A drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and LSD, with repeat offenders facing a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both, if caught. Those caught and convicted of intent to supply the drug face life in jail.

    Not surprisingly, many ordinary Brits are up in arms over the revelations of drug use in parliament, tweeting about the hypocrisy of the legal system, and quipping that the investigation serves to "finally explain" British politics. Many users said it would only be fair for MPs and Lords to be tested, just as ordinary government employees are.



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