SNIFFER dogs could be used in the Houses of Parliament amid claims drug abuse is rife.

The House of Commons speaker said he would call in police to tackle growing evidence and reports of cannabis and cocaine use on the Westminster estate.

According to the Sunday Times, there have been traces of cocaine detected across the estate in areas only accessible to people who have security-cleared parliamentary passes.

Meanwhile Tory MP Charles Walker, chairman of the Administration Committee, said that the issue would be discussed by the House of Commons Commission next week.

He told the newspaper: “The House of Commons has a long history of using sniffer dogs to detect explosives.

“It may be that we now need to broaden the range of sniffer dogs . . . to include those which can detect drugs.”

Sources have told the newspaper of casual cocaine use by a group of MPs, while detection wipes are reported to have found evidence of the drug in 11 out of 12 locations tested across the parliamentary estate.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said in 2019, while he was running for speaker: "It’s not just drink we’ve got to catch out, there is a drug problem."

MPs, peers and parliamentary staff have spoken about witnessing blatant drug use around parliament and by staff and MPs.

Speaking anonymously, one person told of how they saw an MP "openly snorting cocaine at a party" while another said they ahd heard of an employee who walked in on an MP taking a "late night" line of cocaine at their desk.

Another described a "cocaine culture" in Parliament, adding that it was "shocking, but also sad." 

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has called for an investigation.

He said: "When thousands of young people are in prison for their drug use, it is outrageous that people are doing cocaine in parliament with impunity. 

"Government ministers cannot talk tough about illegal drugs while turning a blind eye to their mates.

“We cannot allow a culture to persist where powerful people think they can do this, and we need effective action from the government to undermine the criminal gangs who profit from selling harm.”

Jenny Symmons, who chairs the GMB union branch for members’ staff, said: “Parliament is a microcosm of the country so of course drugs will be a problem, but the working culture of late nights and short deadlines can create a pressure that feels unmanageable.

"Support must be available for those who have turned to drugs and we must continue to improve working conditions for staff."

A Commons spokesman said: "Parliament takes the issue of substance misuse very seriously, and should drug use be identified in parliament, appropriate action would be taken. Any allegation of criminal behaviour would be a matter for the Metropolitan Police."