Stephen Doughty, a shadow international development minister, confessed to getting hold of the tranquilliser diazepam without a prescription. Byron Long, a long-standing friend of Doughty who was also a constituent, received a caution for supplying Doughty. An extraordinary police report, obtained by Guido, claimed Stephen Doughty had made an apology in the House of Commons in the presence of barristers and the Speaker, none of whom expressed the view that he should be dealt with criminally. The officer concluded that, as a result, Doughty should not be interviewed by the police about the matter. As Guido reported back in October, none of this actually happened. Nor would it have any bearing on a charging decision for a criminal offence if it had happened.
Byron Long was given a police caution for supplying the Diazepam, something Stephen Doughty admits he initiated, and despite being complicit in the criminal offence of procuring a prescription drug he has not even questioned. This is extraordinary given the police received an allegation that over a 2 year period Doughty had obtained, in the same manner, 140 Diazepam pills. The police didn’t even ask Doughty to deny the allegation. Incredulous Welsh Labour Party sources pointed out at the time that Alun Michael is the serving South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. The former First Secretary of Wales and Leader of the Welsh Labour Party is a close friend of Doughty’s father, and Stephen Doughty is himself a protege of Alun Michael, who assisted Doughty in getting his seat. Senior police officers would not be unaware of the Commissioner’s political relationship.
If that smells like police corruption as a result of undue political influence, that is exactly what Guido thinks has happened. There was also a ridiculous ruling by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner that whilst Doughty had made a “severe error of judgement” in asking a vulnerable constituent to supply him diazepam – a prescription-only Class C drug – she nonetheless ruled that he did not break the Parliamentary Code of Conduct in doing so. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner ignored that Doughty was in breach of the duty of the Code of Conduct:
“Members have a duty to uphold the law”
She instead merely reflected that it was “ill-advised behaviour”. That’s one way of putting it; Guido would say it was exploiting a vulnerable constituent to commit a crime and repeatedly procure drugs illegally.
This morning The Times reports that in response to a complaint lodged by the constituent Byron Long, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has now ruled that the police’s argument about evidential difficulties “does not appear to be borne out by the available evidence”, and ordered the force to investigate the differences in how it treated Long and Doughty.
The IOPC says:
“The evidence that I have considered leads me to conclude that there appears to be an inconsistency in the manner in which you were dealt with by South Wales Police, following [Long’s admission of supplying the drug] and Mr Doughty’s apparent acknowledgement regarding obtaining a controlled drug, which did not result in further investigative lines of enquiry”.
South Wales Police have therefore been ordered to investigate “the apparent difference in the outcomes experienced by Mr Long and Mr Doughty” and its decision-making process in the case.
The IOPC also said this investigation should examine whether Doughty was “treated differently due to his status as an MP, and also due to a personal relationship with Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales”. Just as Guido said in October.