Reports that Conservative British politician—and premiership candidate—Michael Gove took cocaine “several” times in his thirties have spurred intense debate about drug usage, double standards, and the right to privacy and second chances.

The revelations came days before Monday’s deadline for Conservative candidates wishing to replace prime minister Theresa May, who resigned last Friday.

So far, eight of the 11 candidates have admitted to previous drug use.

As Education Secretary in 2013, Gove led a “crusade” to toughen standards, instituting lifetime bans for teachers found possessing drugs.

Some argue this demonstrates how middle and upper classes’ demand for drugs fuel the violence which endangers the lives and futures of disadvantaged, impoverished young people.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid echoed this sentiment, as has Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick, affirming class A drug users had “blood on their hands.”

However, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was “unconcerned”, telling Sky News “people should tell us what they’ve done and move on in life.”

Other commentators think it “ridiculous” that such revelations may damage Gove’s leadership chances, arguing UK drug laws desperately need reform.

Should politicians be considered hypocrites for enforcing drug policies they later confess themselves “lucky” to have escaped?

Or are would-be leaders entitled to a life before politics—and praise for their honesty?

 

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.