MICHAEL Gove will fight on “undaunted” in the face of his cocaine controversy.
The wannabe PM yesterday apologised for taking the drug in his 30s, but is accused of “hypocrisy”.
He will try to get his leadership campaign back on track today — after facing calls to quit the race over his cocaine shame.
At his official Westminster launch he will vow to fight on undaunted, while declaring himself a “serious leader” for serious times.
He will say: “I have shown in every role in Government that I’ve been given a passion for making people’s lives better. I have demonstrated that I can bring teams together, reach across divides and deliver real change
“I have led from the front undaunted by criticism and resolute in the need to solve complex issues because that is what our country needs.”
Yesterday the wannabe PM issued a grovelling on-air apology for snorting Class A drug cocaine, admitting it was “a crime and a mistake”.
Anyone that takes Class A drugs they need to think about the supply chain and the number of lives destroyed along the way
He was blasted for his “hypocrisy”, and accused of shattering the trust of voters.
Questions also loom over whether he has covered up his drug taking after he dodged questions on declaring it when travelling to the US.
His team refused to answer the question, only saying they had taken legal advice and are confident his visa forms were completed correctly.
And it emerged Mr Gove oversaw a major shake-up while Education Secretary that gave him the power to ban teachers caught taking drugs after the General Teaching Council was abolished.
He also hosted a cocaine-fuelled party at his Mayfair flat just hours after penning an article for The Times in 1999 in which he slammed the evils of drug use
'GOVE NEEDS TO STEP AWAY'
In an attack, leadership rival Sajid Javid tore into middle-class drug users who “destroy lives” by taking the drug.
He said: “Anyone that takes Class A drugs, they need to think about the supply chain from Columbia to Chelsea, and the lives destroyed along the way.”
In a furious tirade to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, he added: “There are people that have their organic food, they boast about buying Fair Trade, they talk about climate change, and at the same time, come Friday or Saturday night, they are all doing Class A drugs.
“They should be thinking about the impact they are having, especially on children and the rise in county gangs, and the horrific abuse I’ve seen as Home Secretary of young children that are being trafficked into this trade.”
Tory peer Baroness Warsi demanded Mr Gove immediately quit the leadership race — and suggested he could be prosecuted. She told Channel 4 News: “I think Michael Gove needs to now step away from the leadership race.
I do have a profound sense of regret about it all and I am very, very aware of the damage that drugs do
“I think it is completely inappropriate for him to continue . . . for him to stand to be Prime Minister of this country.”
Warning he is shattering the already fragile trust Brits have in their MPs, Baroness Warsi added: “This isn’t just about drug taking, it is about trust, it is about hypocrisy of the highest order.”
The former solicitor said it was “a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service” whether he should face a court.
Mr Gove had been one of the three favourites to be the next PM, along with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
But his chances face being killed off after it was revealed he took the drug while working as a journalist when in his 30s.
A shame-faced Mr Gove appeared on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show yesterday to issue a grovelling apology.
'I AM VERY AWARE OF THE DAMAGE DRUGS DO'
He said: “It was a crime. It was a mistake. I deeply regret it.” He admitted he was “fortunate” not to be sent to jail for his drug use.
He added: “I do have a profound sense of regret about it all and I am very, very aware of the damage that drugs do.”
He went on: “I was Justice Secretary. During that time, one of the things I said is that people should never be defined by the worst decision that they made. People should be given a chance to redeem themselves and to change.
“I believe that every life is precious and that everyone has worth and that whatever people have done in the past we should look for the treasure in the heart of every man and try to give people the chance to make a contribution.”
'THE STAKES HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER'
Mr Gove also said he did not recall having to declare taking the drug when he joined Government. He will today declare that he can be trusted to take over as party leader and Prime Minister.
Mr Gove will say: “This moment — right here, right now — is a serious time in the life of our nation. And it requires a serious leader. The stakes have never been higher, the consequences have rarely been greater.
“We need a leader ready to lead from day one. A leader ready to be Prime Minister from day one. A leader ready to face the scrutiny of the studio lights.”
Meanwhile, Esther McVey yesterday became the latest Tory leadership contender to confess to taking drugs as she admitted smoking cannabis.
She said: “I’ve never taken any Class A drugs. But have I tried some pot? Yes, I have when I was much younger.”
Did Michael Gove lie?
UNDER-pressure Michael Gove last night faced questions over whether he lied to the US authorities over his cocaine use.
Quizzed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show about drug taking, he dodged questions over whether he failed to declare it on the ESTA visa form to travel to the US.
Asked directly by The Sun if Mr Gove declared his drug use, his team refused to say. Instead they only said that “we have taken legal advice from a QC who is satisfied that Michael completed his forms correctly”.
Mr Gove could now be banned from travel to the US.
Boris Johnson said he believes he was once given cocaine, but said he sneezed and “it did not go up my nose”.
Rory Stewart said he tried opium at a wedding in Iran, while Jeremy Hunt said he tried a cannabis lassi while backpacking through India.
Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Raab and Matt Hancock all admitted that they tried weed while at university.
Taking the rap for feud
MICHAEL Gove has made up with old pal Boris Johnson — with a rap inspired by the hit hip hop musical Hamilton.
They fell out in 2016 over the leadership. Mr Gove delivered the rap at a 30th birthday bash for BoJo’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds.
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