Following reports by the Sunday Times that the Home Secretary Suella Braverman is “receptive” to the idea of reclassifying cannabis as a Class A drug, a spokesperson from Downing Street announces that there are “no plans” to do so.
The spokesperson from No 10 went onto say that government’s priority was focused around “cracking down on illegal drugs and the crime they drive. We’ve launched a drug strategy backed by record investment to deliver a whole-system approach to tackling supply and demand”.
Braverman’s alleged receptiveness to such policies came after a group of police commissioners, speaking at the Conservative party conference, called for cannabis to be reclassified to Class A – the same bracket as drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.
Why Would Suella Braverman Indicate Support for Making Cannabis a Class A Drug?
Needless to say, this seems a textbook example of the Home Secretary ‘playing politics’, in an attempt to entrench her popularity with the Conservative party members.
Braverman had initially put her hat in the ring to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader – and thus, Prime Minister – only to be knocked out of the leadership race in the second round, receiving only 27 votes.
Within Conservative leadership elections, MPs vote on prospective candidates, whittling down the number of leadership hopefuls until only two remain. The final vote then shifts over to official Conservative party members to decide the fate of said candidates.
There are approximately 175,000 Conservative party members, which equates to about 0.4% of the UK electorate. Despite official statistics of member profiles not being made available by the party, a study revealed that this cohort of voters are most likely to be middle-aged, wealthy and white.
Typically, this demographic of Tory voters are more likely to align with traditional, right-wing policies. Vying for a shot at the hot seat, the recent hustings for the Conservative leadership election saw candidates lean further and further to the right, with many political commentators outlining how Liz Truss – the eventual winner – portrayed herself as similar to party-favourite, Margaret Thatcher.
In recent years there has been a carousel of Conservative party leaders who have served as Prime Minister, with Liz Truss becoming the fourth in six years.
However, within days of her premiership commencing, there were already loud murmurs of discontent from Conservative MPs – following the economic fallout from the disastrous mini budget announcement – with some reported to have already submitted no-confidence letters to the 1922 Committee.
A cynic might suggest that, given these factors, it is plausible that the Home Secretary is shoring up her own popularity and support amongst the all-powerful party members, betting on the possibility of another opportunity to become party leader, sooner rather than later. Only a cynic though…
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