A HOUSE of Lords committee has criticised the Home Office's "lack of consultation" on proposed changes to nitrous oxide.

Yesterday (Wednesday), MPs voted overwhelmingly to have laughing gas categorised as a class C drug.

Under the planned changes, unlawful possession of nitrous oxide would carry a sentence of up to two years in prison or a large fine.

But the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has raised concerns that a full public consultation was not undertaken on the proposed changes.

The Home Office told the committee that it did not hold a public consultation on the reclassification of nitrous oxide because it was already "minded to introduce the ban".

Lord Hutton of Furness, a member of the committee, said: "The decision not to conduct a consultation, and the reason given, that the Government had already decided to proceed, represent a significant departure from best practice which is far from ideal in law-making. This example should not set a precedent."

Bradford was one of the first cities in the UK to raise the alarm about the number of drug users inhaling gas from balloons on street corners and behind the wheel.