The justice secretary has told middle class drug users they should feel “guilt and responsibility” for firing up the number of fatal stabbings in the UK.
David Gauke argued individuals who devour cocaine at dinner parties are to blame for street violence in cities across the UK.
“People who do that have to recognise they are fuelling the industry that’s resulting in the knife crimes, resulting in the difficulties we’re having in prisons,” the Conservative MP for South West Hertfordshire said.
“There’s a responsibility for middle class people that take cocaine at a dinner party that when they see a story of a 15-year-old boy stabbed in Hackney [east London] they should feel a degree of guilt and responsibility.”
The UK is witnessing a rise in knife crimes – last year the incidence was up 22 per cent.
Last week Police Federation deputy treasurer Simon Kempton pushed the blame on wealthy people for generating demand for the class A drug.
Mr Kempton, the operational policing lead for the Police Federation, said given the choice between wealthy recreational users and addicts living on estates he would “stop the middle classes” buying drugs.
“If you look at why there is a market for cocaine from South America it is because people who can afford it are buying it and fuelling the problem,” he said.
“Street-level users are a problem because they steal to fund their habit but on their own they will not support an organised-crime group.
“The big market is people with money to spend and they are often oblivious to the misery they cause because it is not on their doorstep.
“Middle-class drug users do not come across the radar of police because they are consuming it behind closed doors. There’s a lack of personal responsibility.”
Security minister Ben Wallace has warned the UK is “fast becoming the biggest consumer” of cocaine in Europe.
Earlier in the week, he said the “high-margin, high-supply drug” was “fuelling” an increase in violence on the streets.
He told MPs technology had allowed young dealers to avoid detection and order drugs direct from “serious” gangs.
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