From my dusty files:
The Evening Standard (London) October 4, 2000
'My parents tell me they'd rather I had a joint than got drunk'; ... AND EVEN THE YOUNG CONSERVATIVES THINK SHE IS BONKERS
THE YOUNG Tories of old had a reputation for drunken abandon - the organisation has since been rebranded as Conservative Future to improve its image - but drugs of any kind were apparently always taboo.
However, at least some of the new generation have managed to combine a love of strong policies on law and order with a discreet puff of cannabis.
Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe's proposal today that there should be zero tolerance of cannabis use received a mixed reaction among younger delegates in Bournemouth - with several young Conservatives, including a would-be MP, admitting they had smoked the drug.
The most open on the subject was 18-year-old Cara Cuthbertson, a politics, business and English student at Llandudno College, who said that not only does she smoke cannabis regularly but does so with the approval of her Conservative-voting parents. "I don't think this new policy is a good idea at all," she said. "Drinking makes people violent and that is a real social problem, especially where I live in Wales. But people who are stoned tend to want to stay indoors where they don't cause any trouble. I smoke dope and my parents have smoked it. They tell me they'd rather I had a few joints than get drunk as it is less harmful.
"I wouldn't advocate legalising cannabis because I think a lot of older people would have a real problem with that."Perhaps surprisingly, given Miss Widdecombe's hard line, even a young would-be MP was today prepared to admit having smoked joints - and having inhaled. Prospective parliamentary candidate for Glasgow Maryhill, Gawain Towler, 32, said: "When I went before the selection committee I had to tell them that I had smoked pot as a student a few years ago. But they didn't seem to have a problem with that."
End of article.
Gawain Towler is currently a UKIP MEP candidate in the South West.