Farage joins the campaign for drug reform

Nigel Farage expressed his support for drug law reform today, as he threw his weight behind Nick Clegg's calls for a royal commission.

The Ukip leader put aside his ongoing feud with the deputy prime minister after Clegg returned from a fact-finding trip to Colombia with a pledge to complete a Lib Dem investigation into international alternatives to drug prohibition.

"Goodness knows what he smoked out there, because he actually made a couple of smart points," Farage wrote in the Independent.

"First, the so-called war on drugs isn't working. Second, we should appoint a royal commission to look into the alternatives."

He added: "The fact is our current approach to drugs is neither practical nor effective.

"I strongly believe in promoting individual freedom – but I also strongly believe in reducing the public harm caused by drugs.

"As a parent as much as a politician, I say we have to accept that current policy has not achieved the reductions in crime or consumption that we'd hoped for."

Clegg used his Colombia trip to pursue a distancing process from the Conservatives, with some pointed criticism of the way the Tory party opposed any revision to the UK's drug laws.

David Cameron and Theresa May shot down calls from the home affairs committee for a royal commission on drugs in 2012.

That refusal forced Clegg to follow the alternate route of setting up a Liberal Democrat report on international alternatives to prohibition, led by Home Office minister Norman Baker.

Even without Conservative support, it is still the first UK government report examining legal alternatives to drugs in other countries.

"I want to end the tradition where politicians only talk about drugs reform when they have left office because they fear the political consequences," Clegg wrote in the Observer once he arrived back in the UK

"This has stifled debate and inhibited a proper examination of our approach."