UK prime minister candidate admits having taken cocaine

But other MPs pushed for Mr Gove to campaign for reform and the potential decriminalisation of some drugs.

The foreign secretary told the Times: "I think I had a cannabis lassi when I went backpacking through India".

Days before Conservative members of parliament open nominations for candidates to be their new leader, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he used the Class A drug on several occasions when he was working as a journalist.

In 1992, USA presidential hopeful Bill Clinton famously said he tried marijuana while at Oxford University but "didn't inhale".

It prompted a rival candidate to take aim at middle class drug users and the "impact" of their lifestyle and "the number of lives that are destroyed along the way".

The Cabinet minister has admitted taking the drug on several occasions around 20 years ago when he was a journalist.

The battle is expected to conclude by the end of next month, with former foreign secretary Boris Johnson the bookmakers' favorite to emerge victorious.

"I believe that 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 every man and try to give people the change to make a contribution". International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said he smoked opium at a wedding party in Iran.

Andrea Leadsom told the Independent that she "smoked weed at university and have never smoked it again since". At the time I was a young journalist.

Mr Gove insisted he had committed a mistake "I profoundly regret", and insisted he is "committed to helping everyone" moving away from drugs.

"The question now is that people should look at my record as a politician and ask themselves 'is this person we see ready to lead now?'", he said. He says he won't criticize anyone for "holding their hand up and saying 'I got that wrong'". In the last leadership contest in 2016, Gove was going to run Johnson's campaign before dramatically declaring he'd run himself at the 11th hour, forcing Johnson, 54, to drop out.

The Conservative Party's 160,000 dues-paying members will vote on the final two candidates to pick the next party leader, who will also become prime minister. Boris Johnson admitted over a decade ago to trying cocaine and cannabis as a student.


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