Self admits taking heroin on PM's jet

Will Self, the novelist and newspaper columnist, did take heroin on the Prime Minister's plane, the Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Mr Self was sacked from the Observer after the allegation surfaced last week, but issued a strenuous denial through his lawyers.

However, in an exclusive interview with this paper on Friday night, he admitted to snorting heroin in the toilet on John Major's jet while part of the Prime Minister's election campaign press party on a flight from London to the East Midlands a week last Thursday.

The self-confessed former heroin addict went to the toilet during the flight and snorted a line of heroin along the side of the wash basin. He said: "So I was smacked out on the Prime Minister's jet - big deal."

Mr Self's astonishing disclosure is bound to delight the Conservatives who are desperate for any ammunition with which to hit back at sleaze allegations.

The self-styled literary enfant terrible said he had denied the charge because he thought there would be no evidence to support it.

He revealed that he had also initially denied it to Will Hutton, editor of the Observer, which had led Mr Hutton to persuade another newspaper to withdraw a story about him last Sunday.

But when he was put under further pressure to sign an affidavit, he admitted to Mr Hutton and the Observer's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, that the charge was true, and he was then sacked.

He could not bring himself to put the denial in a formal, legal document for fear that, if found out, the embarrassment to the Observer and its sister paper, the Guardian, would be even worse, he said. One of their journalists not only would have taken heroin on Mr Major'sflight but also would have committed perjury.

"I confessed up to Will Hutton ... that I'd had a bad patch with smack and as it happened I did take a little," said Mr Self. "There was pandemonium. Rusbridger was called in and they decided to fire me."

Mr Self thinks another journalist sitting at the back of the aircraft either spotted the change in his manner after taking the drug, or that he may have left a small amount in the toilet.

Mr Self, who left Londonyesterday to go to the country, said he was fed up with the hypocrisy, both at the liberally-minded Observer, which promoted him as a writer who took drugs, and among the press generally.

Mr Hutton said yesterday that Mr Self had confessed to him and that he had offered the writer rehabilitation treatment which had been refused.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Inbound Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: IT Field Engineer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line IT Engineer

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent