Michael Gove insists cocaine confession should not stop him becoming Prime Minister
Michael Gove has admitted taking cocaine "on several occasions" but said it should not disqualify him from becoming Prime Minister.
A forthcoming biography of the Environment Secretary 'A Man in a Hurry' by Owen Bennet, reveals that during the 2016 Tory leadership contest Mr Gove told advisers that he had used the Class A drug whilst working as a journalist 20 years ago.
In response to the revelation, Mr Gove told the Daily Mail: "The book is correct. I did take drugs. It is something I deeply regret. Drugs damage lives. They are dangerous and it was a mistake."
Nominations for the Tory leadership contest close on Monday and the Cabinet big-hitter has the second highest number of MP nominations behind Boris Johnson.
He said: "It will be for my colleagues in Parliament and members of the Conservative Party to decide now if I should be leader. I think all politicians have lives before politics."
"I took drugs on several occasions at social events more than 20 years ago. At the time I was a young journalist. It was a mistake. I look back and I think, I wish I hadn’t done that'."
"Certainly when I was working as a journalist I didn’t imagine I would go into politics or public service. I didn’t act with an eye to that," he added.
Bookies' favourite Boris Johnson admitted to taking cocaine in 2008 when he was running to be mayor of London.
Rory Stewart, another of the Tory leadership contenders, recently apologised after admitting he had smoked opium at a wedding in Iran.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe