UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Was drugs scientist right to speak out?


drugsThe government’s attitude towards science is under the microscope this week over accusations that expert advice is being ignored if it fails to fit prevailing political agendas.

The row has been prompted by the sacking of the government’s chief drug adviser, Professor David Nutt, who has been making statements that do not fit in with the government’s hard line on drugs. Two of his colleagues resigned in protest over the weekend and more may follow.

Nutt has criticsed the Home Office decision to upgrade cannabis to a Class B drug, saying it is less harmful than alcohol and nicotine. He has previously said taking ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding and that consideration should be given to downgrading the classification of both ecstasy and LSD.

Liberal Democrat science spokesman Dr Evan Harris says: ”I fear there will be many more resignations unless the government acts to restore confidence among its independent scientific advisers.”

Does class matter in politics?


borisThree big speeches have been delivered at the Conservative Party conference so far — by party leader David Cameron, the mayor of London and national bumbler, Boris Johnson, and the party’s spokesman on the economy, George Osborne.

What do all three men have in common apart from their membership of the Conservative Party? They were all educated at elite public schools (Johnson and Cameron at Eton and Osborne at St Paul’s) and all went to Oxford, where they were members of the same dining and social set, the secretive and selective Bullingdon Club.

Not another debate, please! But this one is with fluffy toys…


The three leading candidates for the post of London mayor battle it out in the “Rainbow London Mayor Debate”. Watch Boris Johnson fighting hard to convince voters he can run the show at City Hall, Ken Livingstone campaigning on key issues like the buses, while Brian Paddick is trying to get a word in edgeways…not much difference to previously televised debates….except for the outfits!


Heat is on at Reuters Newsmaker with London mayor candidates


** For full coverage of the mayoral election go to our special report **

Safer streets, better housing, more reliable transport….that’s what Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick all want for London and it’s probably what most Londoners want for their city. But what’s the big difference then between “Red Ken”, “Crazy Boris” and …”Policeman turned Politician” Brian Paddick?

That’s still hard to fathom two weeks ahead of the May 1 London mayor election. But there was an air of tetchiness and getting personal during a Reuters Newsmaker debate at Reuters headquarters in London in front of an invited audience of around 250 people.