High Tories: how the leadership candidates’ drug pasts compare

Conservative Party leadership contenders; left to right. Top; Esther McVey, Rory Stewart, Sam Gyimah, Matt Hancock. Middle; Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab. Bottom; Mark Harper Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom

Conservative Party leadership contenders; left to right. Top; Esther McVey, Rory Stewart, Sam Gyimah, Matt Hancock. Middle; Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab. Bottom; Mark Harper Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom Composite: Various

Following Michael Gove’s admission that he used cocaine “on several occasions” when he was working as a journalist, other Conservative leadership hopefuls have come clean about their experiences with illicit substances. From cannabis yogurt drinks to opium at weddings, here are their confessions.

Boris Johnson

Appearing on Have I Got News For You in 2005, Johnson said: “I think I was once given cocaine, but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.”

However, in a GQ interview in 2007, the Tory leadership frontrunner admitted to trying cocaine and cannabis at university, saying it “achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever”.

Jeremy Hunt

The foreign secretary told the Times: “I think I had a cannabis lassi when I went backpacking through India”. He added: “That is almost as naughty as wheat fields,” referring to Theresa May’s widely ridiculed answer when she was asked about the naughtiest thing she’s ever done.

Andrea Leadsom

Responding to the revelations of Gove’s drug-taking, Leadsom said she had smoked cannabis at university, but had never done it since. “I have never taken cocaine or class A drugs,” she said, adding: “Everyone is entitled to a private life before becoming an MP.”

Dominic Raab

Raab, who had already admitted taking cannabis as a student, said: “At university, I tried cannabis, not very often as I was into sport. It was a mistake, particularly the more I know now about the link between it and mental health issues.

“But it was a long time ago and was particularly few and far between and I have never taken cocaine or any class A drugs.”

Sajid Javid

Javid said he had never taken “any soft or hard drugs”. He told Sky: “Anyone that takes class A drugs needs to think about that supply chain that comes, let’s say, from Colombia to Chelsea, and the number of lives that are destroyed along the way.”

Rory Stewart

Stewart told the Telegraph last week he had smoked opium in Afghanistan at a wedding. “I was invited into the house, the opium pipe was passed around at a wedding,” he said, adding that the family may have been so poor that they put very little opium into the pipe.

Matt Hancock

A source close to Hancock told the Telegraph he had “tried cannabis a few times as a student but has not taken any illicit drugs since”.

Esther McVey

McVey told ITV she had never taken any class A drugs. “I have never taken any class A drugs, but have I tried some pot? Yes I have. When I was much younger.”

Mark Harper

The former chief whip said had not taken “drugs or any illegal substances”, but added he did think it was fair for candidates to be the next prime minister to answer questions about any past illegal activity.

Sam Gyimah

The former universities minister has denied taking any drugs. “Lots of calls from journos today on personal drug use,” he tweeted. “Not my vice, never has been.”

[“source=theguardian”]