Home Secretary Priti Patel has indicated she could back proposals to test workers for class A drugs as suggested by Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey.
If elected mayor of the capital, Mr Bailey has said he would fight cocaine use through the introduction of rules requiring firms employing more than 250 people to sign up to a drug-testing charter in which they conduct random drug tests and then publish the results.
On Friday, Ms Patel said “middle class” drug users were fuelling drug sales networks which used children as runners.
Ms Patel told The Sun: “I back any techniques that will reduce drug crime.
“Drugs affect everyone - whether it’s in the City of London, whether it’s in places of work.
“I’ve also seen it outside of London and in our cities. I’ve seen it in my own county of Essex.
“Parts of my county where there are middle-class drug users, effectively using county lines and children as runners.”
Mr Bailey said on Twitter he was glad the home secretary supported his proposals, saying “middle-class drug use funds the gangs causing violence on our streets.”
He added: “While Sadiq Khan tries to defund police, I’m glad Priti Patel backs my plan to make London safer.”
When he announced the policy earlier this year, Mr Bailey said the policy would be designed to preserve the anonymity of workers, and was aimed at promoting culture change among businesses in the capital.
“The purpose of this charter is not to get employees fired or shamed. Individual results will be anonymous,” he said in August.
The results of the tests would be published as part of a “city-wide league table”, under his plans.
Commenters have noted that middle class cocaine use in London is not usually associated with county lines drug running.
According to the government’s own review of drugs, children coerced into drug running known as county lines, largely bring drugs such as crack and heroin - not widely regarded as middle class drugs - from larger cities into rural communities.
The mayoral election which was due to be held earlier this year was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and is now to be held in May 2021.