Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove has said he “deeply regrets” taking cocaine while working as a journalist more than 20 years ago.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said he had taken the Class A drug at several “social events” during his days as a reporter.
He said the mistake should not be held against as he bids to become Prime Minister.
The environment secretary is one of 11 candidates running to become the new Tory leader after Theresa May officially stepped down on Friday.
Speaking to the Mail, he said: “I took drugs on several occasions at social events more than 20 years ago. At the time I was a young journalist. It was a mistake. I look back and I think I wish I hadn’t done that.
“I think all politicians have lives before politics. Certainly when I was working as a journalist I didn’t imagine I would go into politics or public service.
“I didn’t act with an eye to that. 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?’
“I have seen the damage drugs can do to others and that is why I deeply regret the decisions I took,” he added.
His confession comes after fellow candidate and international development secretary Rory Stewart apologised for smoking opium at a wedding in Iran 15 years ago.