Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘barrister

Misleading Parliament Again. Victoria Atkins, The Drugs Minister With A Family Cannabis Farm.

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She’s back!  Victoria Atkins MP is again engaged in answering parliamentary questions on cannabis for the UK government.  Clearly this is wholly improper when she directly benefits from commercial production of cannabis.

Ms Atkins disappeared from public view for a few weeks after CLEAR revealed that her husband is growing 45 acres of cannabis under government licence while she argues against drugs regulation in Parliament. It was particularly notable that she was absent from the House of Commons during the recent urgent question debate on a medical cannabis licence for Alfie Dingley.  Instead, her colleague Nick Hurd MP, ostensibly the Police Minister, was required to answer a question on drugs.  Similarly, she was nowhere to be seen as Paul Flynn MP’s bill came up for debate, which sadly, as CLEAR had predicted, never took place.

It is simply extraordinary that the so-called Drugs Minister should duck and dive out of view when such issues of massive public interest hit the headlines.  She has a massive conflict of interest and it is completely unacceptable for her to continue in her present role.

Yesterday, 7th March 2018, she answered a written question from Roger Godsiff, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green.

“To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will assess the health and economic benefits of legalising cannabis for medical use.”

Ms Atkins answered:

“The World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence has committed to reviewing the scheduling of cannabis under the United Nation’s 1961 Convention. This is due to consider the therapeutic use, as well as dependence and the potential to abuse constituent parts of cannabis. This is due in 2019 and we will await the outcome of this report before considering the next steps.”

This answer is at best disingenuous and misleading.  Once the full facts are understood it is clear that it is deceptive and mendacious.

British Sugar’s giant greenhouse in Wissington, Norfolk where Victoria Atkins husband, Paul Kenward, grows cannabis

Ms Atkins husband, Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, grows cannabis under contract to GW Pharmaceuticals for the production of medicine.  Ms Atkins deceit is predicated on another deception promoted by the UK government that is some way or another, Sativex, GW’s cannabis medicine is not cannabis.  GW is perfectly straightforward about this.  Sativex is a whole plant cannabis extract adjusted by simple blending of two different strains to deliver 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD.  It contains all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds present in the plants from which it is made.  The government deception is to justify the issue of a marketing authorisation (MA) for Sativex by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which is itself a deception.  The MA was issued on the basis that Sativex is THC and CBD alone.  The MHRA conveniently overlooks the hundreds of other ingredients and calls them “unspecified impurities”. The consequence of this is that, ludicrously, Sativex is a schedule 4 drug whilst any other form of cannabis remains schedule 1 and may not be prescribed

But the plot thickens.  The deceit goes even deeper.  It has been widely reported and British Sugar confirms that its grow is not for Sativex but for production of Epidiolex, the 98% cannabidiol (CBD) medicine that has not yet received an MA.  If, as appears certain, this is the case then the British Sugar grow is unlawful under the declared policy of the government.  Cannabis production licences (other than low-THC industrial hemp) can only be issued for “research or other special purposes“. They most certainly cannot be issued for the production of a medicine that is not yet authorised.  Even if the British Sugar cannabis is low-THC, it is definitely not an approved EU industrial hemp strain and the purpose of its production is presently unlawful.

Ms Atkins through her husband is therefore engaged in the unlawful production of cannabis and is directly engaged in misleading Parliament as to government policy, the law and the medical value of cannabis.  The World Health Organization story is a trick, a distraction, an excuse to divert Parliament from understanding the truth.

Ms Atkins conduct cannot be described in any other way except as corrupt.  She is a disgrace as a minister of the Crown, to Parliament, to her profession as a barrister, to the Conservative Party, to her constituents in Louth and Horncastle and to the United Kingdom as a whole and all of its citizens.  She is manifestly unfit for any public office.



Achievement Against All Odds.

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I am the most fortunate of fathers.  I could never have dreamed that my children would scale such heights. A fortnight ago my youngest son, Evan, qualified as a chartered surveyor.  Today my eldest, Richard, capped his extraordinary achievement in becoming a barrister by gaining tenancy at 9, Bedford Row, possibly the top international criminal and human rights set in London.

In the 21st century, the route to success as a barrister is almost impossible to negotiate but Richard has done so despite many disadvantages and challenges.

Born five weeks premature, he spent his first days of life in the special care baby unit.  Twice-butchered, traumatised before the age of three in what should have been a minor operation at the Royal Surrey Hospital, he was at last properly served by a skilled surgeon at Great Ormond Street. Then, at the age of four, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. His response, even as a small child, was to become an expert.  Before he was a teenager he could have taken on any doctor, any diabetician, any endocrinologist and taught them a thing or two.  His whole life is characterised by determination and an ability to gain knowledge through intense study and the application of his most remarkable intelligence.

As a child, he was known in our wider family as ‘the next prime minster but six’.  I still have no doubt that he could achieve that if he put his mind to it – and he still may. He was individual national champion in the ‘Debating Matters’ competition and then, despite dyslexia, diabetes and far from the finest secondary education, he made his way to the University of East Anglia to study politics, philosophy and economics, that degree most favoured by our leaders and the elite.  In truth, he neglected his studies for student politics, editing ‘Concrete’, the university newspaper and then launching a rival, Norwich-wide student magazine. Despite this he gained the requisite 2:1 and was by that time set on a career in the law.

Unlike many of his contemporaries at the bar, there was no silver spoon for Richard.  His mother’s hard work, the support of his grandparents and his own diligence at some depressing jobs enabled his second degree in the law and successful completion of the bar course.  To see him called at Middle Temple in October 2014 was then the proudest moment of my life, particularly as it was the very last such occasion for my father, himself a retired lawyer, before he died on the last day of that year.  I believe Richard knows what supreme joy he brought to his grandfather in those last weeks of his life.

The next stage in a barrister’s career is to gain pupillage, the essential apprenticeship that leads to a practising certificate. Fewer than one in ten who are called to the bar achieve this and often they are aided by family contacts, networks, their Oxbridge or public school connections.  Richard had none of this, only his ability, courage and a focus which makes determination an inadequate word to describe him.

I am very grateful that 9, Bedford Row granted Richard pupillage and has now given him the opportunity to reach the very top in his chosen profession.  In the year before he began pupillage he showed how much the open market already values him and was appointed General Counsel on a fat salary at TES Global, the world’s leading educational publisher.

I am in awe of my son.  He humbles me with his achievements. I have no doubt that he will take silk, become a judge, or triumph at whatever challenges he chooses.  I am the proudest father.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 10, 2016 at 12:28 pm