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Medical Cannabis Under Prescription

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead 4:59 pm, 20th May 2019

You should have seen the reaction of some of my civil servants when I got back to the Department after making that comment in Westminster Hall! You would understand then why this went exactly nowhere, even though I pushed and cajoled. Sadly, or fortunately, I was moved to the Ministry of Defence after the 2017 election.

So why are we here today? Why have colleagues come into the Chamber, which was completely empty 10 or 15 minutes ago, when they could probably go, as I do not think there is going to be a vote? I say that because the Government have indicated to me that they have accepted the motion, which is votable, if we needed to do that. I have indicated to the Whips that if we needed to do this, I would push it to a vote. I do not think we need to, simply because, after listening to the debate, the Minister will realise, “Hey, we’ve got to move faster.”

Are we moving fast? No. Are we moving faster than we were? Yes, but more needs to be done. Why is that? Because young people are having massive seizures that are affecting their lives and those of their loved ones. They are affecting their families and their quality of life in this country today.

We can do something about that. We are on the journey of doing more about it, but I ask more as a father than as a politician: why do they have to find the money and go to Holland or to Canada? If they cannot find the money, they are not going to get it, unless someone donates it to them or they crowdfund. In the 21st century, why are we allowing these children to be given drugs that are not working and that were never designed for the use for which they are being given, while we have products out there that the pharmaceutical companies are producing, and we know exactly what is in them? It may not help—it may not stop those seizures—but for some people it clearly does. It is morally wrong for us to sit back and allow those children to suffer, and I have no intention of doing that.