Andrea Leadsom admits smoking cannabis after Tory rival Michael Gove says he used to take cocaine – The Independent

Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has revealed she smoked cannabis while at university.

The former leader of the Commons was responding to questions about her past drug use following the revelation that leadership rival Michael Gove had taken cocaine.

Ms Leadsom, 56, said she had never taken cocaine or any other class drug and had never smoked cannabis – which she referred to as “weed” – since leaving Warwick University, where she read political science in the 1980s.

“I have never taken cocaine or Class A drugs,” she told The Independent. “Everyone is entitled to a private life before becoming an MP. I smoked weed at university and have never smoked it again since.”

1/11 Boris Johnson

As the overwhelming favourite among the party membership, Boris Johnson is relying on his charisma to walk his way to the highest position in government. While there is a growing Stop Boris collective of Tory MPs, many in the party believe that he is the only candidate who could win a general election. He insists that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

PA

2/11 Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, is the most direct opposition to frontrunner Boris Johnson; similarly inclined to a hard Brexit but not as controversial among Tory MPs. He would seek a new, „fairer” deal, though he insists that Britain must leave the EU by October 31. Raab announced his bid on Sunday 26 May, 2 days after the Prime Minister announced her departure date.

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3/11 Michael Gove

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is leaning on his extensive government experience, having served in 3 cabinet roles since 2010, to make the case that he is suited to lead. His greatest challenge may prove to be convincing MPs and members to trust him as he earned a bad reputation for standing against Boris Johnson in the 2016 leadership contest after starting the race as Johnson’s campaign manager.

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4/11 Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, was the first cabinet member to announce his bid just hours after the Prime Minister declared her departure date. He supported the Prime Minister’s deal when she tried to get it through parliament and is pitching himself as the candidate to unite the Tory party.

PA

5/11 Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, is somewhat of an outsider, he only joined the cabinet for the first time at the beginning of May. He is pitching himself as the sensible candidate, drawing on his unique diplomatic experience and pledging to rule out both a second referendum and a no-deal Brexit. He has caught attention on social media for his campaigning approach

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6/11 Esther McVey

Esther Mcvey, the former work and pensions secretary, is standing on a hard Brexit promise. She suggests that the EU ought to approach Britain with a better deal and pledges to step-up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

AFP/Getty

7/11 Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, intends to stand for unity in „a United Kingdom”. He pledges to restore trust in politics by delivering Brexit. He has served in two cabinet positions in May’s government, first as housing secretary before replacing Amber Rudd as home secretary, a role in which he garnered controversy over his declaration of a „major incident” when around 40 migrants attempted to cross the channel in small boats.

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8/11 Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the house of commons, is pitching herself as the party unity candidate. Speaking to Sky News as she announced her bid, Leadsom claimed to be a „decisive and compassionate leader.” She will prepare to leave without a deal but claims to have „a three-point plan for Brexit” which she will set out later in the race.

AFP/Getty

9/11 Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, aims to be a „fresh” leader for the future after delivering Brexit. He has said that he will „be the servant of parliament” in delivering Brexit.

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10/11 Mark Harper

Mark Harper, the former chief whip, acknowledges that he is the underdog in this race. He claims to be a truly fresh face, compared with other candidates who have served in the cabinet. He has suggested that a further delay to Brexit may be necessary if the new prime minister is to negotiate a new deal.

PA

11/11 Sam Gyimah

Sam Gyimah, a former universities minister, is the only candidate promising a second referendum. Announcing his bid on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Gyimah said; „We face a very stark and unwelcome choice. It is either no deal or revoke, via a second referendum, possibly.”

PA

1/11 Boris Johnson

As the overwhelming favourite among the party membership, Boris Johnson is relying on his charisma to walk his way to the highest position in government. While there is a growing Stop Boris collective of Tory MPs, many in the party believe that he is the only candidate who could win a general election. He insists that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

PA

2/11 Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, is the most direct opposition to frontrunner Boris Johnson; similarly inclined to a hard Brexit but not as controversial among Tory MPs. He would seek a new, „fairer” deal, though he insists that Britain must leave the EU by October 31. Raab announced his bid on Sunday 26 May, 2 days after the Prime Minister announced her departure date.

Getty

3/11 Michael Gove

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is leaning on his extensive government experience, having served in 3 cabinet roles since 2010, to make the case that he is suited to lead. His greatest challenge may prove to be convincing MPs and members to trust him as he earned a bad reputation for standing against Boris Johnson in the 2016 leadership contest after starting the race as Johnson’s campaign manager.

Getty

4/11 Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, was the first cabinet member to announce his bid just hours after the Prime Minister declared her departure date. He supported the Prime Minister’s deal when she tried to get it through parliament and is pitching himself as the candidate to unite the Tory party.

PA

5/11 Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, is somewhat of an outsider, he only joined the cabinet for the first time at the beginning of May. He is pitching himself as the sensible candidate, drawing on his unique diplomatic experience and pledging to rule out both a second referendum and a no-deal Brexit. He has caught attention on social media for his campaigning approach

PA

6/11 Esther McVey

Esther Mcvey, the former work and pensions secretary, is standing on a hard Brexit promise. She suggests that the EU ought to approach Britain with a better deal and pledges to step-up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

AFP/Getty

7/11 Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, intends to stand for unity in „a United Kingdom”. He pledges to restore trust in politics by delivering Brexit. He has served in two cabinet positions in May’s government, first as housing secretary before replacing Amber Rudd as home secretary, a role in which he garnered controversy over his declaration of a „major incident” when around 40 migrants attempted to cross the channel in small boats.

PA

8/11 Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the house of commons, is pitching herself as the party unity candidate. Speaking to Sky News as she announced her bid, Leadsom claimed to be a „decisive and compassionate leader.” She will prepare to leave without a deal but claims to have „a three-point plan for Brexit” which she will set out later in the race.

AFP/Getty

9/11 Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, aims to be a „fresh” leader for the future after delivering Brexit. He has said that he will „be the servant of parliament” in delivering Brexit.

PA

10/11 Mark Harper

Mark Harper, the former chief whip, acknowledges that he is the underdog in this race. He claims to be a truly fresh face, compared with other candidates who have served in the cabinet. He has suggested that a further delay to Brexit may be necessary if the new prime minister is to negotiate a new deal.

PA

11/11 Sam Gyimah

Sam Gyimah, a former universities minister, is the only candidate promising a second referendum. Announcing his bid on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Gyimah said; „We face a very stark and unwelcome choice. It is either no deal or revoke, via a second referendum, possibly.”

PA

One of Mr Gove’s rivals for the Tory leadership, Dominic Raab, said that his admission should not force him out of the contest, adding that he “rather admired his honesty”.

“It’s ultimately for MPs and colleagues and members to decide, but I certainly don’t see it as barring him from this race in any way,” Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today. The former Brexit secretary, who has previously admitted occasionally smoking cannabis at university, added: “I’ve never taken cocaine or any other class A drugs. I think class A drugs are a bit different.”

Sajid Javid’s team said that the home secretary had never taken illegal drugs, while Rory Stewart, who last week revealed he had smoked opium at a wedding in Iran, said he admired Mr Gove for his honesty.

A source close to Boris Johnson highlighted his previous statement that “I was once at university offered a white substance, none of which went up my nose, and I have no idea whether it was cocaine or not”. And asked whether Jeremy Hunt had ever taken illegal substances, his team pointed to his recent admission of drinking a cannabis lassi while backpacking in India.

Ms Leadsom’s resignation from the cabinet last month sparked a train of events which led to Theresa May’s resignation as Conservative leader.

She quit as leader of the Commons because she felt unable to introduce Ms May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which would have enabled the ratification of Brexit under terms agreed with Brussels last November but opposed by many Tory Leavers.

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