THE UK Government has been slammed for “undermining” Scotland’s plans to decriminalise drug possession for personal use.

SNP MP Chris Stephens told Tory minister Michael Gove that there was “no reasonable, rational, evidenced” reason for the proposals to be rejected by Westminster.

The Glasgow South West MP raised the Scottish Government’s plans during Levelling Up, Housing and Communities questions on Monday in the House of Commons.

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We previously told how the Tories rejected the Scottish Government’s proposals to decriminalise drugs for personal use within an hour of the announcement on Friday.

Stephens asked Gove if the “outright rejection” from the UK Government over the weekend “undermines the Scottish Government, undermines those campaigners and those who help drug users and undermines the Union”.

Gove said “no”, adding that he did not accept the SNP MP’s suggestion.

“We both know that drugs deaths in Scotland are running at an unacceptably high level,” Gove said.

“And there is no single answer to dealing with that problem.

“But I do believe as was outlined very clearly by politicians from both the government and indeed the principal opposition party, that the Scottish Government's proposals are the wrong proposals at the wrong time.”

Stephens replied that the heads of 31 United Nations agencies have called for possession decriminalisation, that more than 30 countries have made changes and this has “cut deaths and incarceration”.

He added: “So there's no reasonable, rational, and evidence cause for the UK Government to make, or indeed the Labour Party, for rejecting the proposals out of hand.

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“So can I ask him seriously in his role as intergovernmental relations to work with the Scottish Government to be the grown-up on his side of the room and engage with the Scottish Government and those drug campaigners?”

“I'm always happy because, as the honourable gentleman points out, this is a both complex and also challenging and heartbreaking issue,” Gove replied.

“And I do believe that it is right that the government's work together, with the NHS, with law enforcement and with others in order to deal with the challenge.

“But I believe that the specific proposals for decriminalisation of possession that are being put forward are not the best way forward.”

The National:

Last week, drugs minister Elena Whitham announced the shift in the Scottish Government’s position on personal drug use, as well as a framework for the creation of drug consumption rooms and the consideration of regulated supply of drugs in the future.

The policy paper produced by the Scottish Government said decriminalisation would free “individuals from the fear of accessing treatment and support, reducing drug-related harms and, ultimately, improving lives”.

In the final paragraph of the paper, Whitham said that while “independence or further devolution” would allow the policies to be implemented, “these changes are not dependent on constitutional changes”.

“We stand ready to engage with the UK Government on meaningful drug law reform to improve the lives of people who use drugs, their families and our communities,” she added.

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However, within an hour of the end of the press conference, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman poured cold water on the proposals.

The spokesman said: “Whilst I haven’t seen those reports, I think I’m confident enough to say that there are no plans to alter our tough stance on drugs.”

Later, a source close to Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Illegal drugs destroy lives and communities.

“The Scottish National Party’s proposals are irresponsible and would do untold damage to our neighbourhoods.”