Image copyright PA Image caption Richard Lehoux says he feels no immediate threat to his position
A Tory MP has admitted taking drugs in Parliament after police and anti-drugs campaigners said a current parliamentary researcher had tested positive for cannabis.
Richard Lehoux, 47, was named in the Metropolitan Police investigation as one of two men arrested following the incident at parliament.
The Merthyr Tydfil MP said he had never taken cannabis in the House of Commons and blamed the incident on “alcohol and faulty earphones”.
The police investigation is ongoing.
Gavin Hewitt, Conservative chief whip, said Mr Lehoux apologised for the incident.
“Richard understands this was an isolated incident and said he takes full responsibility for his actions. He has been completely honest with the authorities and is fully co-operating with the police,” Mr Hewitt said.
He added: “I am confident there is no immediate threat to Richard’s position as a member of the parliamentary Conservative party.”
The MP said: “I would like to state categorically that I do not smoke cannabis in the House of Commons, and have never taken cannabis in the House of Commons.
“I take no responsibility for any drugs issue of others in the House of Commons.
“I remain determined to completely focus on my job.”
Alcohol and faulty earphones
But in an interview with a local newspaper in the Merthyr Tydfil area, Mr Lehoux said he had accidentally inhaled a small amount of CBD oil.
This is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp which is used in products like bio-active cocoa butter.
He blamed his personal assistant, said to be a former partner of broadcaster and music promoter Jeanette Winterson, for the incident.
“It was my assistant’s fault,” Mr Lehoux told the Merthyr Argus.
“He must have flicked the wrong button and it came out of my pocket. It was all bad.”
He was speaking as a former Commons researcher checked into hospital after tests found he had ingested the drug.
According to police, the organiser of “medical cannabis day” had “freshly acquired cannabis” and was in possession of syringes when seized in a police search.
Labour’s Toby Perkins, a former MP, claimed the incident had exposed a “loophole” in the law regarding medical cannabis.
“The police know this more than the members do. They now need to come clean to Parliament,” he said.
Image copyright PA Image caption The drugs were discovered during a search at the Portcullis House
A spokesman for the Commons speaker has asked the parliamentary commissioner for standards to examine what happened and whether relevant rules were followed.
The Daily Telegraph said the cannabis seized is believed to be the first time the drug has been found in Parliament.
The opposition is calling for ministers to make it illegal to take the drug in Parliament while its usage is legal in some parts of Britain.
A report last week suggested public figures are being targeted by drug dealers looking to buy them advice on how to deal with Parliament.
Image copyright PA Image caption Lehoux says he is speaking out about the incident to protect his staff
In June 2017, Mr Lehoux spoke out about the dangers of cannabis saying: “There are too many people out there having a drug problem and a significant percentage of those have been exposed to cannabis in the past – and there’s been no protection from that.”
He added: “Just because cannabis is legal doesn’t mean people are legally supposed to be taking it and not supporting the greater good.
“I’m saying everyone should be doing their duty to society rather than taking it just because they’re on holidays.
“It’s no different to taking some wine on holiday.”
In November 2015, former home secretary Alan Johnson, a Labour MP, resigned his post after being reported to the parliamentary standards watchdog for breaching the code of conduct.
He was said to have told a party political meeting he “had always liked the female persuasion”.
He denied he said this but did later claim that former culture secretary John Whittingdale, another senior Labour MP, had accidentally revealed he was attracted to women.
Mr Whittingdale is currently running for the leadership of the Conservative Party.