Michael Gove denies being a hypocrite over anti-cocaine article

Posted On: 
9th June 2019

Michael Gove has dismissed accusations of hypocrisy for writing an anti-cocaine article despite having used the drug himself.

Michael Gove has apologised for using cocaine "several times" while working as a journalist
Credit: 
PA

The Tory leadership hopeful was forced to issue another apology for his use of the substance as he admitted he was “fortunate” not to be jailed for taking the drug on several occasions over two decades ago.

On Sunday, Mr Gove said he “deeply regretted” taking the Class A while working as a journalist, but batted away claims he was wrong for writing the piece in which he defended the UK’s drug laws.

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Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he said: “I think anyone can read the article and make their own minds up. The point that I made in the article is that if any of us lapse sometimes from standards we uphold, that is human.

“The thing to do is not necessarily to say the standards should be lowered, it should be to reflect on the lapse and to seek to do better in the future.”

He added: “I believe every life is precious and that everyone has worth and that whatever people have done in the past, we should look for the treasure in the heart of everyone man, and give everyone the chance to make a contribution.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Gove admitted his cocaine use was a “crime” which he had been “fortunate” not to be jailed for.

He said: “Yes, it was a crime, it was a mistake. I deeply regret it.

“I was fortunate in that I didn’t but I do think it was a profound mistake and I’ve seen the damage that drugs do. I’ve seen it close up and I’ve seen it in the work I’ve done as a politician and that is why I deeply regret the mistake that I’ve made.”

The Environment Secretary also denied being asked about his drug use when undergoing vetting to become a government minister and insisted suggestions he might be banned from entering the US as Prime Minister were “foolish”.

“No one asked,” he said. “I don’t believe the question was ever raised. I don’t ever remember being asked in any way about that.”

“I don’t believe that I have ever, on any occasion, failed to tell the truth about this when asked directly.

He added: “I think it is the case that if I were elected Prime Minister of the country then of course it would be the case that I could go to the United States, and I think it’s foolish to suggest otherwise.”

But fellow Tory leadership candidate Sajid Javid issued a swipe at Mr Gove as he slammed middle-class drug users for "destroying lives".

"It doesn't matter whether you're middle class or not, anyone that takes Class A drugs, needs to think about the supply chain... and the number of lives that are destroyed along the way," he told Sky's Sophie Ridge.

"They have organic food, they boast about climate change, they talk about the environment, and at the same time, come Friday or Saturday night, they are ordering Class A drugs."