The UK Government will not block Scotland's first drug consumption room, Alister Jack has confirmed. 

In a significant development, the Conservative minister told MPs that while he disagreed with the facility, he would not intervene or frustrate the process. 

A pilot is likely to be approved in Glasgow within weeks after Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC said on Monday that it would “not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility”.

READ MORE: Safe drug consumption: Lord Advocate says no prosecutions for users

Proposals for the hygienic and secure environment in which trained staff supervise the injecting of illicit drugs are set to go before the city’s integrated joint board of council and health officials on 27 September.

While prosecution policy is in the hands of the senior Scottish law officer, drug legislation is reserved to Westminster. 

During Scotland Questions in the Commons, Mr Jack was asked repeatedly by SNP MPs about the proposal. 

The Scottish Secretary told the chamber: "Illicit drugs destroy lives and devastate communities. The United Kingdom government's ten-year drug strategy sets out ambitious plans backed with a record £3 billion over three years to tackle the supply of illicit drugs and build a world class system of treatment and recovery.

"This is a UK wide strategy, and there are no plans to devolve drugs policy to the Scottish Government."

He said the "police and the Procurator Fiscal Service should be enforcing the laws in Scotland, not decriminalising drugs."

The SNP's Marion Fellows then suggested there were Scottish Tory MSPs who wanted the pilot scheme to be blocked. 

Mr Jack told MPs: "There is no safe way to take illegal drugs. Drugs devastate lives, they ruin families, they damage communities. The UK government believes that the police and the Procurator Fiscal Service should fully enforce the law.

"However, if the Scottish Government and the Lord Advocate decide to proceed with a pilot on drugs consumption rooms, the UK Government will not intervene."

The SNP's Tommy Sheppard pushed Mr Jack further: “Let me give him another chance to get on the right side of history and to actually say that he will support and work with the Scottish Government to see this pilot project through.”

Mr Jack replied: “I think I’ve been quite clear that the UK Government’s policy is not to proceed with drug consumption rooms and we believe drugs devastate families and destroy communities.

“But I’m also very clear that the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Government appear to have achieved a workaround that allows them to have a pilot drug consumption room, probably in Glasgow, and the United Kingdom Government will not intervene in that.

“So you now have no more excuses.”

READ MORE: SNP ministers criticised over drug consumption room pilot 'delays'

Mr Sheppard pressed the minister on the point, saying that Mr Jack had "form in terms of intervening in decisions of the Scottish Government."

"So he says he won't intervene. Can he therefore be clear then that he will say, on behalf of the UK Government, that he will not use any administrative or legislative means to frustrate or block this pilot policy by the Scottish?"

The Scottish Secretary replied, "Yes."

The SNP's Alison Thewliss, whose Glasgow Central constituency looks likely to host the DCR, welcomed Mr Jack's comment. 

"This is significant, and I hope he speaks with the agreement of the Home Office," she tweeted.

Campaigner Peter Krykant, who briefly operated an illegal consumption facility from a van, said the Scottish Government should use the opportunity to open a whole host of DCRs.

"Seems like Westminster will respect the decision of Scotlands Lord Advocate & the will of the @ScotParl across all parties regarding overdose prevention sites.

"Just another reason@scotgov need to open a number of sites for a robust impact evaluation framework of different models."

In her statement on Monday, the Lord Advocate stressed she had not been asked to “sign off or approve” such a facility.

“However, prosecution policy is for me alone to set and this policy, and the consequences which flow from it, have been considered deeply and thoroughly."

Ms Bain continued: “On the basis of the information I have been provided, I would be prepared to publish a prosecution policy that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility.”

Her comments came after cross-party MPs in Westminster’s Home Affairs Committee backed the establishment of a safe consumption room in Glasgow.

READ MORE: Suspected drug deaths in Scotland increase by 7 per cent

Last month, figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed there were a total of 1,051 deaths due to drug misuse in Scotland in 2022.

While this is down by 279 from the previous year, it is still 2.7 times the rate of the UK and the highest in Europe.

However, quarterly figures released on Tuesday showed a 7% increase in suspected fatalities.

There were 600 suspected drugs deaths recorded in Scotland between January and June 2023, an increase of 38 on the same period last year.

In the most recent quarter, April to June 2023, there were 302 suspected drug deaths during the period.