Thursday, November 5, 2009
The political fallout from the sacking of Professor David Nutt as chairman of the United Kingdom’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) by Home Secretary Alan Johnson on Friday is gathering momentum.
|He was asked to go because he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy.|
Professor Nutt recently pointed out during the course of a lecture that a number of socially and legally proscribed drugs, amongst them cannabis, on most objective criteria of risk assessment are less dangerous than a number of other drugs, notably tobacco and alcohol. Alan Johnson took exception to this.
In his letter dismissing Professor Nutt, Johnson asserted “He was asked to go because he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy.” An article was subsequently published in the online edition of The Times arguing that Professor Nutt’s lecture appeared to conform to government guidelines throughout.
Two other members of the AMCD, Dr Les King and Marion Walter, have already resigned in protest at the sacking and it is likely that further resignations will follow. Cracks within the ruling Labour Party cabinet have also appeared, with Science Minister Lord Drayson saying that he had been “pretty appalled” by the decision.
A Facebook group in support of Professor Nutt has already gathered more than 17,000 members. A public demonstration in support of Professor Nutt is planned for Saturday to take place outside Downing Street.