I am no stranger to reading inaccuracies or even downright lies on social media but recent statements have tested even my legendary patience.
Alfie Dingley is a young boy with a rare life-threatening form of epilepsy known as PCDH19, sometimes having 30 seizures a day, in his short six-year life Alfie has suffered up to 3,000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in a single year.
His mum, Hannah said: “Our neurologist said that if we don’t get him off these prescribed drugs, it can have serious mental health implications for my son”
After successfully treating Alfie’s condition in Holland with a cannabis oil extract containing THC which is illegal in the UK, Alfie’s parents returned home to Coventry and applied to the Home Office for a license to enable him to continue with his effective treatment.
“I don’t want a child who is psychotic or dead. It just frightens me to death. If we keep on giving him steroids the way he is, he will be very mentally unwell or he will die and I can’t let that happen.” The Telegraph
The Home Office refused to grant a special licence repeating their consistent message that:
“Cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, as in its raw form it is not recognised in the UK as having any medicinal benefit and is therefore subject to strict control restrictions.
“This means it cannot be practically prescribed, administered, or supplied to the public in the UK, and can only be used for research under a Home Office licence.
“The Home Office would not issue a license to enable the personal consumption of a Schedule 1 drug.”
Timeline of events
18th February – The Home Office release a statement rejecting pleas for a special licence.
“The Home Office would not issue a licence to enable the personal consumption of a Schedule 1 drug.” Sky News
19th February – Hannah, Alfie’s mum calls on the public to help change the law;
“I would urge people and politicians to support us and raise this with Amber Rudd to save this little boy’s life. If it strikes a chord with anyone, it would mean so much to us for you to help.” Express & Star
20th February – Home Office Minister Nick Hurd makes a statement in Parliament,
Nick Hurd reiterates that Alfie will not be granted a “special licence” and stresses that supplying cannabis “is unlawful” statement
20th February – Paul Flynn MP calls on people to attend Parliament and “break the law”
“To medicinal cannabis users, he said: “I would urge them to break the law, because the law, in this case, is an ass.” BBC News
21st February – I send an e-mail to Minister Nick Hurd MP and over 100 of his colleagues;
“This Friday, myself and a group of Mothers will be at Parliament to support MP Paul Flynn’s private member’s bill. I will be there in possession of cannabis oil with the intent to supply to the Mother of a dying child, which as you are well aware is a criminal act. By rescheduling and permitting doctors to prescribe cannabis the Government will not only be assisting seriously ill people but also aiding me to not be a criminal, please help us”
23rd February – Live on Sky News I state;
“I’m going to tell a police officer that I am in possession of a class B drug, cannabis THC-a solution with intent to supply to the parents of a seriously ill child” Sky News
23rd February – I attend the rally outside Parliament, where Paul Flynn MP announces;
“What’s happened here today has been a filibuster organised by one party, and I am ashamed to say I am a member of that party,” he said.
The bill will instead be debated on Friday, July 6.
Earlier this week Mr Flynn urged people using the Class B drug for medical reasons to break the law, saying current legislation “is cruel and lacks compassion”.
23rd February – After Mr Flynn’s announcement I am approached by two police officers during a media interview and subsequently arrested.
26th February – Home Office meet privately with Alfie’s parents.
27th February – “Skunk” scare stories and discredited reports from 2015/16 suddenly reappear in the press;
“Researchers at King’s College London tested almost 1,000 police seizures in 2016 and found 94 per cent were of a dangerously high potency.”
“In 2015 Kings College showed that in South London, 24 per cent of new cases of psychosis could be attributed to skunk use” The Telegraph
28th February – The Government make a complete U-turn, the BBC report;
It previously turned down requests by the family of Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, to legally take the drug.
But now ministers say they are “exploring every option”, following a meeting with the family.
An option could be a three-month trial, led by Alfie’s doctors and based on “sufficient and rigorous evidence”. Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, described the move as a “lifeline”. BBC News
My arrest 23rd February – Parliament, London
After Paul Flynn’s announcement, I was approached by a news crew for Russia Today and asked to give my response. At the request of RT and along with Callie Blackwell and a few others we moved away from the loud music to a quieter area to conduct the interview.
Callie started to explain the campaign of dressing as Suffragettes and pointing out that 120 years ago Suffragettes could access cannabis for their terminally ill children but could not vote and today their great, great grandchildren can vote but have to fight for access to cannabis medications,
Two people dressed as police officers approached us. I informed the larger officer about the predicament of Alfie Dingley and that I was in possession of a cannabis THC-a oil of the composition his parents sought in the UK. I was subsequently removed to a nearby police van where a large crowd of people gathered in support. Locked in the back of that van was a real eyeopener, it was when I found out who the real UK Activists are,
Callie Blackwell was arrested on “suspicion of brandishing a cannabis plant”
The Home Office has had a consistent message for Hannah Deacon’s repeated requests for cannabis oil containing THC for her son Alfie, “cannabis has no medicinal value”. So what changed between 20th February when Home Officer Minister Nick Hurd reiterated that Alfie “will not” be granted a “special licence” and the following Monday when Mr Hurd told the family;
“An option could be a three-month trial, led by Alfie’s doctors and based on “sufficient and rigorous evidence”
- Did the Government have a sudden change of heart due to their compassion?
- Was it due to the failed second reading of Paul Flynn’s private members bill?
- Or was it the result of some direct action?
Whatever the answer, the important factor is that little Alfie is now going to get access to the THC-a cannabis oil he requires.
Now – What about all the other desperate parents in the UK?
UPA statement – corrections and clarifications
“That stunts like these may deter supporters who are thinking of attending the next rally. We do not wish anyone to think that attending a UPA event or rally could lead to their arrest.”
When did Paul Flynn MP’s call for people to attend Parliament become “a UPA event”? and no “stunt” it was an act of defiance answering Paul Flynn MP’s call to;
“break the law, because the law, in this case, is an ass.”
“The UPA cannot support people who actively intend to get arrested or to cause trouble of any kind for our supporters or the authorities at our events.”