Today's leading stories include the announcement of a public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing and calls for the decriminalisation of some drug offences.
Manchester Arena bombing public inquiry
The Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Express, Metro, The Independent and Daily Mail all cover the Home Secretary’s announcement of a public inquiry into the deaths of the 22 people killed at the Manchester arena in 2017.
The Mirror and Guardian include comments from the Home Secretary who said it is “vital that those who survived or lost loved ones in the attack get the answers they need and that we learn lessons".
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The Manchester Arena attack was an unspeakable tragedy and an act of evil targeted at innocent people, including children, enjoying a night out.
The people of Manchester have shown incredible resilience and determination not to let those who despise our way of life succeed.
But I know that the community, and those who survived or lost loved ones, are still seeking answers. It is vital that they get these answers and that we learn the lessons whatever they may be.
Now that the coroner has decided that an inquest cannot properly investigate the deaths, I will establish a statutory inquiry to consider all the evidence and make appropriate recommendations.
I know that the families affected need to understand what happened, which is why I want to get this inquiry started as soon as practicably possible.
A cross-party group of MPs have called for the decriminalisation of some drug offences in a new report, the Guardian, Times, Independent, Mail and Sun report.
The report by the Health and Social Care Committee found that the current approach to drugs is “clearly failing” and government policy should focus on healthcare rather than prosecution.
The other suggestions cited by the Mail include the introduction of ‘shooting galleries’, the removal of criminal records for possession, NHS prescriptions of heroin and allowing pharmacists to give out clean needles.
The Times notes that the report called on the UK to follow the lead of countries such as Portugal, which has already decriminalised all drugs.
A Government spokesperson said:
We are committed to reducing the use of drugs and the harms they cause and the Home Office has commissioned a major independent review to examine these issues.
We must prevent drug use in our communities, support people through treatment and recovery, and tackle the supply of illegal drugs.
The Government has no plans to decriminalise drug possession. The decriminalisation of drug possession in the UK would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities.