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Gay Tory MP: I use poppers so don't vote to ban them; Drugs plea during Commons debate.

Byline: DAN BLOOM Political Reporter

A TORY MP revealed he uses poppers as the Commons debated a ban on the drug yesterday.

Crispin Blunt pleaded for the drug to be taken off a list of stimulants whose sale is to be outlawed.

The Commons heard alkyl nitrites, sold in sex shops, are sniffed for a brief headrush and enhance gay sex.

Mr Blunt, 55, who came out as gay and left his wife in 2010, warned users like him would ignore the law and the substance would only be driven underground into criminal hands.

Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman Mr Blunt told MPs: "There are times when something is proposed which becomes personal to you and you realise the Government's about to do something fantastically stupid and one has a duty to speak up.

"I use poppers, I'd be directly affected by this legislation. I'm astonished to find it's proposed to be banned."

Poppers "have been used for decades" and "respect for the law is going to fly out the window for people if the that's the drug they use", he added. Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham also spoke up for the drug, telling Home Secretary Theresa May they have "beneficial health and relationship effects" and were an important issue for the gay community.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill will make it an offence to produce, import, export, supply, offer or possess with intent to supply highs including laughing gas - or "hippy crack".

Vendors will face up to seven years' jail for selling them, though possession for personal use will remain legal.

A Labour amendment sought to switch poppers to a list of drugs exempt from the ban, which starts in April. The amendment was yesterday defeated by 309 votes to 228.

The Department of Health will now investigate if a ban on poppers will harm the gay community and decide by July whether to "unban" them.

It came as the Home Office said cannabis had "no recognised medicinal uses" after a 23,000-strong petition called for its legalisation for clinical treatments.

dan.bloom@mirror.co.uk

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HONEST Blunt on the poppers ban

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2016
Words:361
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