In the U.K. newspaper The Guardian today, Home Secretary Alan Johnson defended the firing of drug adviser David Nutt:
Professor Nutt is indeed a reputable scientist whose views on drugs policy are well known. However, his role as my principal adviser was to (unsurprisingly) present advice. It is the job of the government to decide policy.
Professor Nutt was not sacked for his views, which I respect but disagree with (as does Professor Robin Murray, who wrote in your newspaper on Friday).
He was asked to go because he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy. This principle is well understood and long established.
Nature has an interview with Nutt.
(Update 4pm: Scientists on the U.K.’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs have begun to resign in protest)