Jeremy Wright MP urging Home Office to change mind on cannabis treatment for Kenilworth boy

The Home Office refused to grant a special licence for Alfie Dingley, 6, to receive medical cannabis treatment for his severe epilepsy
The Home Office refused to grant a special licence for Alfie Dingley, 6, to receive medical cannabis treatment for his severe epilepsy

Jeremy Wright MP has said he will try and change the Home Office's mind after it refused to grant a licence for a Kenilworth boy to receive cannabis treatment for his severe epilepsy.

Alfie Dingley, 6, suffers from a rare from of the condition called PCDH19, which causes him to suffer intense 'clusters' of seizures. Regular epilepsy drugs have little effect in stopping them.

Jeremy Wright MP described Alfie's case as 'exceptional' and will try and persuade the Home Office to reverse its decision

Jeremy Wright MP described Alfie's case as 'exceptional' and will try and persuade the Home Office to reverse its decision

The Home Office ruled out granting a special licence to allow Alfie to have medical cannabis oil treatment in the UK, event though the treatment helped alleviate his symptoms when he travelled to the Netherlands last September with his mother Hannah Deacon.

But Mr Wright, the MP for Kenilworth and Southam, said Alfie's case was 'exceptional', and confirmed he would try and persuade the Home Office to change its mind.

He said: "Alfie has a condition which is only seen in 10 other children across the world, which is exceptional in almost every sense.

"There's another argument as to whether medical cannabis should be licensed for widespread use, but it doesn't seem to me that we should get into that.

Hannah Deacon, Alfie's mother, is still urging people to write to their MPs asking for a change in the law

Hannah Deacon, Alfie's mother, is still urging people to write to their MPs asking for a change in the law

"This is for the urgent need to treat a little boy. It's not opening the floodgates (for widespread cannabis use), which I know is a concern."

Although cannabis oil can be bought in the UK, it does not contain the active ingredient THC like it does in the Netherlands.

Mr Wright said he had spoken to Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP and Nick Hurd MP, the Minister of State for the Home Office, about the issue, and would continue to do so.

When asked how confident his efforts would be, Mr Wright conceded it may be difficult.

He added: "They're going to take some persuading. They've taken a strong view on this.

"It's important we get across the almost unique nature of Alfie's condition. I'm not pretending it's easy, and I'm not pretending it won't require a lot of pressure.

"It's been made very clear that we can't allow medication to be used where we're not confident it's safe.

"But this is medication that's being used in continental Europe - this isn't something someone's cooked up in their kitchen. We're talking about it being given to Alfie by a doctor under prescription."

Alfie's case was discussed in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday February 20), when the MP for Reigate Crispin Blunt asked if the Home Secretary would make a statement on the situation.

Nick Hurd MP replied: "I, personally, and the Government sympathise deeply with the situation faced by Alfie Dingley and his family. I think that everyone on both sides of the House and outside it will understand and respect the desire of the family to try to alleviate his suffering in any way possible.

"The current situation is that cannabis, in its raw form, is not recognised in the UK as having any medicinal benefits. It is therefore listed as a schedule 1 drug.

"However, we are aware of differing approaches in other countries and continue to monitor the World Health Organisation’s expert committee on drug dependence, which has committed to reviewing the use of medicinal cannabis. We will wait until the outcome of the review before considering any next steps.

"The whole House will understand that it is a natural desire for parents to do everything they can to make sure that their children do not suffer unnecessarily, but we also need to make sure that cannabis is subjected to the same regulatory framework that applies to all medicines in the UK."

Hannah is still calling on people to write to their MPs asking them to campaign for a change in the law.