Cameron under pressure as Tory rivals deny drug use
Friday 14 October 2005
Mr Cameron has kept silent about rumours buzzing around Whitehall. He and his campaign team argue that answering one question about his personal life will simply invite more.
Last night he once again refused to answer the question of whether he had taken drugs, saying that politicians should be allowed to "err and stray " before they enter public life.
David Dimbleby asked him whether he had ever taken Class A drugs. Speaking on Question Time, Mr Cameron replied: "I have not answered the question about drugs because I think that is all in the past and I don't think you have to answer it. We're both allowed to have had a private life before politics in which we make mistakes and we do things that we should not and we are all human and we err and stray."
But Liam Fox, one of the outsiders in the leadership contest, confirmed to journalists that he had never taken class A drugs. The former GP said: " I've seen too many people suffering from the effects of drugs brought into A&E."
His assertion followed a comment by another leadership candidate, Kenneth Clarke, who said he had never taken cocaine.
Edward Leigh, a senior backbencher, urged Mr Cameron to answer the same question. "I think it does matter. He should tell the truth," Mr Leigh said. Despite the questions over his past, Mr Cameron's position in the leadership race was looking stronger than ever after two MPs who voted for Mr Clarke in previous contests, Jacqui Lait and Robert Key, came out for him. He now has the public backing of 34 MPs. Mr Cameron had a private meeting yesterday with the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
The front-runner, David Davis, whose campaign appeared to have hit the rocks after a disappointing performance at the annual conference, gained the support of one of the new MPs, James Brokenshire, to bring his total to 66. Mr Clarke and Mr Fox are now in a close race to avoid being eliminated in the first ballot on Tuesday. When nominations closed at noon yesterday, no other MPs had decided to join the race.
Mr Clarke was boosted by a letter from 50 leaders of Tory groups on borough and district councils. It said he was "the only candidate with the combination of experience, energy and popular appeal that we need". His team also released a letter of support from eight Tory peers.
But Mr Clarke came under attack over his role as a non-executive deputy chairman of British American Tobacco. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Mike Daube, professor of health policy at a university in Perth, Australia, said: "If he is elected, companies such as BAT will flourish with access at the highest levels, while their products kill more and more millions."
Dr Fox closed the gap on Mr Clarke by announcing the names of four previously uncommitted MPs who vowed to vote for him. This brought his total of known supporters to 20, compared to 23 for Mr Clarke. So far, 143 out of 197 MPs have said who they are supporting.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...