Politician links drug use to parliamentary pressure

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Henning Warloe, the politician for the Conservative Party (Høyre) who’s been charged with possession and use of narcotics, has told Norwegian media that pressure and loneliness tied to his job as a Member of Parliament led to his drug problem.

Henning Warloe speaking in Bergen, where he was a longtime politician, before his election to Parliament. PHOTO: WIkipedia Commons

Warloe admitted that he would abuse drugs on the weekends, because he felt lonesome as a Member of Parliament (MP). Warloe is from Bergen, but had to move to Oslo when he was elected to Parliament (Sortinget) in 2009.

Last weekend, police raided the apartment where he lives at state expense, and found both drugs and drug-related equipment. He has since been formally charged with violations of Norway’s drug laws and has admitted using drugs, in part because he felt alone at the Parliament in Oslo.

“I must say I think there are some aspects of an MP’s working conditions that raise questions,” Warloe told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We are very much left to find our way ourselves. We don’t get hardly any help with the practical part of the work, and it’s every man for himself. We’re expected to deliver and preferably not complain.”

He said that he tried to air his frustration, but got the message that it was wisest to avoid complaining and “maintain the facade” that all was well.

Erna Solberg, head of the Conservative Party (Høyre) and, ultimately, Warloe’s boss, said she understands that it can be difficult for politicians who have been leaders in their home communities to suddenly find themselves in Parliament. She concedes that the party perhaps should have done more to uncover the situation Warloe was descending into.

“But everyone is grown-up, we live our own lives,” Solberg told NRK. “I’m not aware that he asked for any help. It’s clear we can dare to pay more attention to the human aspects of the job, that it’s important to show we care.”

Solberg said it’s important to build up networks and friendships in Oslo, and stressed that MPs do well to spend more of their free time with their colleagues.

Warloe immediately was forced to relinquish all party posts and asked not to run for re-election to Parliament. Solberg claimed the party is not turning its back on him, though, noting that he received supportive applause at a county party meeting back home in Hordaland County.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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