Theo Paphitis dismisses Shaun Bailey's "crackpot" drug testing policy

24 August 2020, 08:58 | Updated: 24 August 2020, 13:59

By Adrian Sherling

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor wants companies to drug test their employees to stop middle-class drug use. Theo Paphitis tells LBC it's a "crackpot idea".

Shaun Bailey called for every large business in London to sign up to a drug-testing charter. This would mean they would routinely check their workers for illegal substance use, with the results being made public.

But Mr Paphitis, who runs Ryman and Robert Dyas, told LBC it was simply not practical.

He said: "When I first saw the headline, I thought this is another crackpot politician looking for publicity to launch a probably doomed campaign to get into power.

"But you consider it in the cold light of day, there is a good point to be made here. And that is that if you stop demand, then you will slow down supply. So that part of it is good. A really good thing to look towards.

Nick Ferrari gave Shaun Bailey's idea on drug testing short shrift
Nick Ferrari gave Shaun Bailey's idea on drug testing short shrift. Picture: LBC / PA

"But it's clueless. People aren't going to lose their jobs over this. The only people who are going to be punished are the companies and why are you punishing the companies when they've had nothing to do with it?

"So that in itself is a crackpot idea.

"Just like normal politicians. Even when it's a good idea like this, they lose the plot afterwards."

"Great idea Shaun, but completely impractical."

Nick Ferrari pointed out the lunacy of the idea, adding: "The dynamic of running a business, that's what these politicians don't get.

"I think that's desperately unfair. You don't want your personal life controlled by your employer. I want my workers to work 10 hours a day, eight days a week, and then what they do in their private lives, I don't care.

"Why should your employer carry the can for what you do out of work?"

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, Shaun Bailey responded that Theo's argument was "weak" and "all over the place."

He said that for those people who enjoy "a swift line of coke on a Friday night", they should remember the violence and criminality it took to get the drugs there, with children being forced into county lines to circulate cocaine.

The mayoral candidate said he wanted people to start regarding cocaine with the same disapproval as drink driving in order to eventually stigmatise the behaviour.

He pointed out that American firms drug test "even in London" with success.

Watch his interview at the top of the page.

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