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Weekly’s drug-drive law makes it into Queen’s speech

Revised drug driving laws which formed the basis of a local newspaper’s campaign will be included in the Queen’s Speech next month, it has been confirmed

The Croydon Advertiser launched Lillian’s Law eight months ago following the death of 14-year-old Lillian Groves in 2010. Reporter Gareth Davies joined forces with Lillian’s family to launch the campaign calling for new drug driving laws after the driver of the car, who had been smoking cannabis, was given just eight months in prison.

In a front page exclusive on Friday, under the headline Royal Approval, the Advertiser reported that Lillian’s Law is to feature in this year’s Queen’s Speech which outlines the Government’s priorities for the next Parliamentary year.

The report stated: “Thanks to the tireless efforts of Lillian’s family, and your support, a revision of drug-driving legislation will be set out in next month’s Queen’s Speech – the Government’s key law-making document for the next 12 months.”

Prime Minister David Cameron previously backed the call, describing current legislation as ‘all wrong’, before suggesting in the House of Commons that a new offence could be included in the next Queen’s Speech.

The Advertiser has now been told it will be as part of the Justice Bill.

Editor Glenn Ebrey said: “The fact this campaign has been such a phenomenal success is testament to everyone involved – Gareth, our readers that have signed the petition and, most of all, Lillian’s family, whose pursuit for justice and a change to the law has been relentless.

“It just goes to show that a good old-fashioned local newspaper campaign can make a genuine difference.”

Under the new laws it would be illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, police stations would get testing equipment, and those involve in causing fatal accidents would receive stricter sentences.

Mr Cameron first revealed plans to revise the law on drug-driving at a meeting with the Advertiser and Lillian’s family last November.

The Department for Transport then announced the creation of an expert panel to explore the implications.

The Queen’s Speech which marks the beginning of the parliamentary session will be broadcast on 9 May. Inclusion in the Queen’s Speech would be the clearest indication yet that Lillian’s Law will become a reality.