Conservative MP faces drug charges
March 7, 2012
A Member of Parliament (MP) for Norway’s Conservative Party (Høyre) has been stripped of all his party posts after police found white powder believed to be narcotics in his Oslo apartment, which is paid for by the Parliament. Høyre leader Erna Solberg said she was “shocked” by the police raid, and its results.
Police also found various “utstyr” (equipment) believed to be tied to drug use in the apartment used by MP Henning Warloe, who Solberg said had also let another “friend” live there. “These apartments should only be used by MPs or their closest family,” Solberg said.
Warloe, age 50, is originally from Bergen and has been active in Høyre’s chapter for Hordaland County for many years. He represented the Conservatives on Bergen’s City Council from 1995 until 2003 and then became part of Bergen’s city government.
He was elected to Parliament for Høyre in 2009 and has been a member of its church, education and research committee. Solberg said Warloe has now acknowledged drug use, and she said that’s “unacceptable … for being a Member of Parliament for Høyre.” Under Norwegian law, though, he will technically remain an MP through the current term that ends with the next national elections in the fall of next year, despite losing his party posts.
“Høyre has zero tolerance for narcotics,” a visibly shaken Solberg told reporters Tuesday night, after an announcement of the charges against Warloe was released. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that she has known Warloe for 35 years, since they both were members of Høyre’s youth organization. Asked whether she had suspected that Warloe was using drugs, Solberg answered with a flat “no.”
Solberg said Warloe had resigned from his posts and that Hordaland Høyre would need to elect a new deputy leader at its annual meeting this weekend. She and her colleagues have recommended that Warloe not stand for re-election to Parliament next year.
“What kind of confidence could voters have in Høyre if we accept that our representatives abuse narcotics?” Solberg asked. “We have to practice what we preach.”
Warloe is charged with possession and use of narcotics after the raid on his flat that stemmed from a larger narcotics investigation in Romerike, northeast of Oslo. That investigation has already resulted in seizures of amphetamines and uncovered a narcotics network, but police told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday that they currently had no evidence that Warloe was connected to the network. Warloe was on a flight to Bergen when the raid on his apartment took place Friday morning.
“We have advised him to lay all his cards on the table, and we have helped him get an attorney,” Solberg said, adding that it was important “to take care of him” in what she called a “difficult situation.”
It’s the latest in a string of “difficult situations” for top Norwegian politicians in recent months, following arrests for sexual harassment, assault and even rape involving elected officials for the Liberal, Labour and Progress Parties. The government coalition is also dealing this week with the resignation of a cabinet minister for the Socialist Left party (SV) after he admitted to funding irregularities and conflicts of interest.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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