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Chris Grayling: "Independent scientific advice is important, but those who take on formal roles with the Government have to be extremely cautious about the things that they say. Professor Nutt’s comments earlier this year, comparing the risks of ecstasy with those of horse riding, were particularly ill judged. The issues that the council deals with are highly sensitive, and there are very divergent opinions out there, so there is a clear responsibility to act cautiously, and be mindful of the fact that messages given by official advisers can and will influence the behaviour of the public."

Sir Patrick Cormack: "As the Home Secretary comes under attack, will he remind himself that it was Churchill who said that scientists should be on tap and not on top?"

David Davis: "May I give unequivocal support not only to the Home Secretary’s decision but to the reasoning behind it? He is obviously familiar with Professor Robin Murray’s comments, which imply that the ACMD did not do a very good job in surveying the evidence previously. I know that the Home Secretary will want to be diplomatic to the council now, but will he please ensure that he also takes evidence from others when he makes his decisions in future?"

More in Hansard. Watch Alan Johnson defend his decision.

22 comments for: Leading Conservatives back Home Secretary on dismissal of Professor Nutt

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