Sadiq Khan must not turn London into a ‘drug supermarket’

“So he can express what he wants, but he will never get a chance to do it under a Labor government because we don’t liberalize the drug laws.

“He’s contributing to a debate, but he won’t have the power to do anything about it, however that happens.”

Mr Reed, a former leader of Lambeth Borough Council, said he had previously struggled to tackle a drug problem in Brixton and was not in favor of relaxing laws.

“You couldn’t walk 100 meters from the metro station to the bus stop without people stopping you from trying to sell you drugs and it stopped people from coming there for recreation [and] to use local shops and businesses,” he said.

“It really drove the area into a downward spiral economically. But besides that, because that created the feeling that you could come and buy your drugs in Brixton, it became a London drug supermarket.”

He added: “You just want that trade off the streets. So I don’t think for a moment that we should look at legalizing drugs recreationally.”

In May, Mr Khan traveled to Los Angeles to learn more about the effects of cannabis legalization.

“The illegal drug trade is causing tremendous damage to our society and we need to continue the debate on our current drug laws,” he said.

‘Punish, prevent and protect’

Mr Reed’s intervention comes as Labor prepares to launch its new justice slogan “punish, prevent and protect” at this year’s party conference.

The slogan is reminiscent of New Labor’s “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime” approach of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The party has also pledged to establish 80 specialized courts to address the backlog of rape cases and low levels of prosecution.

Only 1.3 percent of reported rape cases go to court, as many victims decide not to hear their claims due to an average wait of 1,000 days for a hearing.

“If you make a victim of a serious sexual assault wait three years, there is a good chance that the case will collapse, because many rape victims live in the same neighborhood as the person who assaulted them,” said Mr Reed.

“They don’t want to wander around and bump into this person, feeling like this case is still hanging over their heads […] so many victims just drop the case.

“When there are witnesses, the witnesses forget details for nearly three years that could be crucial to obtaining a conviction.”

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