Jim Murphy: I did not sniff glue

Murphy took part in a Glasgow University debate with the other party leaders. Pictures: TSPL
Murphy took part in a Glasgow University debate with the other party leaders. Pictures: TSPL
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JIM Murphy was yesterday forced to issue a statement saying that he had never sniffed glue after declaring that the illegal habit was “the thing” where he grew up.

The Scottish Labour leader also denied taking any drugs after the subject was raised during a debate on Thursday which saw Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie admit to taking cannabis.

The issue of personal drug use among the leaders of Scotland’s political parties was raised at a debate they took part in at Glasgow University. Hosted by the Glasgow University Political Society, the event saw all four leaders asked if they had taken cannabis.

The First Minister, the Tory leader Ms Davidson and Scottish Lib Dem leader Mr Rennie confessed to using the drug in their youth.

Mr Murphy dodged the cannabis question when it was put to him by Radio Clyde political editor Colin MacKay, saying that glue sniffing “was the thing” in the housing scheme where he used to live.

Asked if she had taken cannabis Ms Sturgeon said: “I think I am actually on record as making an admission on this – once, probably, possibly at this university, but not in this Union I have to say – but it made me awful sick, so I didn’t do it again.”

When the same question was asked of Mr Rennie, he answered: “Yes… in my youthful days”, a response that brought cheers from the audience.

Mr Murphy said: “In the housing scheme where I lived glue sniffing was the thing.”

Then Ms Sturgeon attempted to press Mr Murphy further by asking: “Did you?”

The Labour leader replied: “I don’t remember. It was just a working class thing to do – sniffing glue out of crisp pokes. It was a dreadful, harmful thing that was in that community at that time.”

When she was asked if she had used cannabis, Ms Davidson answered: “I went to Buckhaven High School. What do you think?”

When pressed for a more direct answer, she added: “I’m with Nicola – once or twice. It made me really sick.”

Ms Sturgeon protested that she had only used the drug once.

Yesterday, the Labour party issued a statement to clear up Mr Murphy’s ambiguous reference to glue sniffing.

It said: “Just to be clear, Mr Murphy has never taken drugs. The point he was making at the Glasgow University debate was that when he was growing up drugs weren’t as widespread and that the harmful thing for many people back then was glue sniffing. For the record that’s not something Mr Murphy tried.”

Earlier Ms Sturgeon, Mr Murphy and Ms Davidson had said they were against decriminalising cannabis. Mr Rennie said there should be an open debate based on scientific evidence.

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