James Forsyth

Theresa May and Sajid Javid clash over Billy Caldwell case at Cabinet

Theresa May and Sajid Javid clash over Billy Caldwell case at Cabinet
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At Cabinet this morning, Sajid Javid tried to raise the Billy Caldwell case and the issue of medicinal cannabis. Theresa May replied that now was not the time to discuss this question. But Javid came back several times, pointing out that this was a fast-moving situation and that the Cabinet needed to discuss it. One Secretary of State tells me, Javid ‘wouldn’t take it is not on the agenda for an answer’.

The Cabinet Ministers I have spoken to since the meeting are with Javid on this issue. They believe that the government urgently needs an answer to this question if it isn’t to look heartless, and that compassion dictates that the government must move quickly. They point out that the government allows the medicinal use of other drugs and so this isn’t a backdoor route to the legalisation of cannabis.

Sources close to Sajid Javid are desperately trying to downplay the row, though. They say that May was being reasonable and that they understand why she wants more time to consider the issue given its complexities.

However, Jeremy Hunt’s comments this morning about how there is a review on medical cannabis, something that Number 10 won’t confirm, and the reaction to this morning’s Cabinet meeting shows that there will be political trouble if May isn’t prepared to move on this question, and fast. She’d be well advised to do what she can to get ahead of this issue.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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