Traces of cocaine have reportedly been found in multiple locations throughout the Houses of Parliament.
Swabs which turned blue when they come into contact with cocaine were used in a number of areas across the Parliamentary Estate, mainly toilets outside various offices and bars, which are accessible to Parliamentary passholders, including journalists, guests of MPs, and visitors attending Parliamentary events.
The news comes in the final throes of the Tory leadership race, which saw Michael Gove admit he had snorted cocaine in the past, Rory Stewart say he had once smoked opium in Iran, and Jeremy Hunt confess he’d consumed a cannabis lassi while in India. We also got the baffling revelation that Boris Johnson like to make models of buses out of wine boxes for fun. Different strokes, I guess.
The swab tests were conducted by VICE, who got inside with ‘the help of a friend with a pass’.
They first went to Norman Shaw North, a building of offices for MPs. Sinks in a men’s bathroom on the third floor were swabbed, and as the swab turned blue, apparent evidence of cocaine on the surface was present.
In another bathroom on the second floor, in the same building, another swab suggested evidence of cocaine, though this time it was ‘less concentrated’.
The cocaine hunter tried another loo, reportedly near Boris Johnson’s office, though no evidence of anything untoward was found.
Toilets in other venues on the site were also tested, such as in The Woolsack, previously known as the Sports and Social Club Bar, which showed ‘a small trace’ of cocaine. While some toilets near Strangers’ Bar in Westminster, which is accessible to all Parliamentary passholders and visitors attending Parliamentary events, allegedly revealed ‘a huge amount of cocaine residue’.
According to VICE, out of nine locations across the Houses of Parliament, four came up positive for cocaine residue. Though it should be noted, many toilets on the Parliamentary Estate are accessible to visitors attending events.
A Parliamentary spokesperson said:
Parliament takes the issue of substance misuse very seriously and offers a range of welfare and health support services for those who need them. Parliament is a public place and we welcome over a million visitors a year who have access to the facilities. Should drug use be identified in Parliament, appropriate action would be taken.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for a company who make cocaine wipes such as the ones used, said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the swabs would pick up trace amounts of cocaine from the mains water supply, saying instead the ‘wipes are sensitive to trace amounts of cocaine residue left on any surface’.
Speaking to ‘Parliamentary insiders’, VICE reported drug use is ‘a known thing [that] happens in offices’, according to the report.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.