Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jan 1998
Author: Andrew Buncombe
Source: The Independent
Contact: Email:  The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England


William Straw, the son of the Home Secretary, was yesterday cautioned by
police for selling cannabis to an undercover journalist. Police also
confirmed that Dawn Alford, the Mirror reporter arrested after buying the
drug from the teenager, would not face any further action. 

Last night Jack Straw issued a statement saying that his 17-year-old son
was learning the lessons of the episode. He added: "I am grateful for the
restraint shown towards him by most of the media. I hope that they will
continue to agree that he should not suffer additionally simply because he
is my son." 

The teenager was arrested by police after he voluntarily attended a south
London police station with his father shortly before Christmas. Their
action preceded a report in The Mirror that William had sold 1.92 grams of
cannabis to Ms Alford at a south London pub. 

The Mirror's editor, Piers Morgan, had contacted Mr Straw with the news and
two days later the Home Secretary accompanied his son to Kennington police
station, where he was arrested and released on bail before The Mirror ran
its story. Ms Alford was also arrested when she attended a meeting with

While Mr Straw was undoubtedly embarrassed by the affair he emerged largely
unscathed politically. When he was finally identified he said: "I felt the
same emotions as any parent would do in such circumstances - those of shock
and concern."

William has since been told by Oxford University that his offer of a place
to study at New College is safe. 

Mirror editor Mr Morgan said last night he was delighted his reporter would
face no further action.