I haven't touched cocaine since I was a teenager, says Boris

David Harding
·Contributor
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson has shrugged off claims about drug use (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson has shrugged off claims about drug use (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

Boris Johnson has denied using cocaine since a “single inconclusive event” more than 30 years ago.

The Conservative Party leadership favourite, who has repeatedly appeared to dodge questions over his previous drug use throughout his campaign to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister, said he had only used the Class A substance once.

During an interview with BBC Radio 4’s World At One, Johnson described the incident as “a single inconclusive event that took place when I was a teenager and which I have extensively described”.

Asked if he had used the drug since then, he said: “No.”

Michael Gove, who has admitted taking cocaine (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Gove, who has admitted taking cocaine (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Probing questions about previous misdemeanours and the use of drugs have become an evergreen feature of the Conservative Party leadership race.

Candidates such as Michael Gove and Rory Stewart made revelatory comments about their dabblings with cocaine and opium, respectively.

Boris Johnson's brother Jo (left) and his father Stanley attend the launch of his leadership campaign (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson's brother Jo (left) and his father Stanley attend the launch of his leadership campaign (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)

Mr Johnson, who was compared to Adolf Hitler on Friday, confessed to having used cocaine during an interview with British GQ magazine in 2007, in which he said it “achieved no pharmacological, psychotropical or any other effect on me whatsoever”.

But he was reluctant to elaborate when questioned about it during his campaign launch on Wednesday.

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He said: “I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many, many times.

“I think what most people in this country want us to really focus on in this campaign, if I may say so, is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours.”

The former London mayor is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Theresa May, who famously said the naughtiest thing she had ever done was “running through fields of wheat” as a child.

He finished top in the first round of votes for the Tory party leadership.

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Johnson received 114 votes, significantly more than his nearest rival Jeremy Hunt, who came second with 43. Michael Gove, who has admitted using cocaine, was third with 37.

Earlier today, Johnson said he would take part in a BBC TV debate with the other candidates.

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