One of the favorites fighting to replace UK Prime Minister Theresa May admitted to using cocaine more than 20 years ago, but said he deeply regrets it.
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.
The revelations emerged in a Gove biography by the journalist Owen Bennett due to be published next month, and were subsequently confirmed by the Daily Mail newspaper.
The 51-year-old is the second favorite to replace May and one of the figureheads of the leave campaign, while Boris Johnson remains the front-runner, according to OddsMonkey. During his campaign for London mayor in 2008, Johnson said he’d taken cocaine as a 19-year-old at the University of Oxford, the Guardian newspaper reported at the time.
"I don’t believe that past mistakes should disqualify you," Gove said.
That will apply to more than just drug use. 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.
A third leadership hopeful has also admitted to using drugs. International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said he smoked opium at a wedding party in Iran.
Gove was planning to meet US President Donald Trump during his state visit to Britain this week, but in the end they only exchanged a few words during a banquet. Trump later told a press conference he didn’t know "Michael", but that he thought Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt would do well as prime minister.