It was a banana skin lying in wait. Gordon Brown announced at Prime Minister’s Questions that he wanted a review of the downgrading of the laws on cannabis use and brand-new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was on the next day’s news programmes discussing crime figures.
Her admission on GMTV that she smoked the drug at university prompted a ‘conga line’ (Mail on Sunday, 22 July) of similar confessions from cabinet ministers and others.
The PM’s spokesman said Brown was ‘entirely relaxed’ about the admissions.
Martha Kearney, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, wrote in her blog that several Tories suspected that the drugs issue was a ‘deliberate attempt to embarrass David Cameron’ (23 July) who, along with the rest of the shadow cabinet, ducked similar questions, relying on the phrase ‘politicians are entitled to a private life’.
The row ignited columnists across the media spectrum: the Daily Mail branded the admissions ‘political childishness’ and called for tough action to drive drugs out of schools (22 July).
As the silly season approaches, perhaps we should brace ourselves for government admissions of over-spending in super-casinos and serial binge-drinking.