Susanna Reid, 48, was joined by Ben Shephard, 44, this morning to fill in for Piers Morgan, 53, and the pair welcomed Jacob Rees-Mogg, 50, to the show as the Conservative leadership candidates launched their bids to be the next Prime Minister this week.
Rees-Mogg has put his support behind Boris Johnson’s, 54, with the Foreign Secretary making his presentation to Members of Parliament yesterday and the leadership candidate was asked about his history of taking Class A substances.
With fellow Conservative leadership candidate Michael Gove, 51, recently apologising for taking cocaine during his days as a journalist, reports have remerged of Johnson making his own admissions several years ago.
Asking about Johnson’s reluctance to give an answer yesterday, Good Morning Britain host Reid said to Rees-Mogg: “Are you concerned that he used cocaine or did he not?”
Rees-Mogg replied: “I’m not concerned about this gossipy story that appeared in the gentleman quartile some years ago and that was reiterated on Have I Got News For You,” but as he continued, the MP was interrupted by Reid.
The presenter hit back and said: “It wasn’t gossipy, with respect,” which then lead Reid and Rees-Mogg to talk over one another as they tried to get their points across.
Reid said of the historic reports: “It was Boris admitting to taking cocaine,” to which Rees-Mogg replied: “It’s a gossipy story about a university experience.
“I think if we’re going to say that politicians can’t have done anything even the slightest bit racy when they were at university, then the only politician you’ve had left is me.
“And you’d have politicians in stuffed shirts and I don’t think British people would want that,” Rees-Mogg quipped.
Back in 2005, Johnson said during an appearance on BBC panel show Have I Got News For You: “I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.”
The issue was then brought up in a Gentleman’s Quarterly interview with Good Morning Britain host Morgan in 2007, in which the MP said when asked if he’d taken Class A substances: “Yes. I tried it at university and I remember it vividly.
“And it achieved no pharmacological, psycho-tropical or any other effect on me whatsoever,” Johnson continued, before Morgan asked if the substance had gone up his nose with the MP stating: “It must have done, yes, but it didn’t do much for me, I can tell you.”
During his leadership launch yesterday, Johnson was quizzed about his historical admissions.
Johnson said: “I think the canonical account of this event when I was 19 has appeared many times and I think what most people in this country really want us to focus on is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours.”
When asked about Gove’s own admissions after reports emerged of his substance use earlier this week, Rees-Mogg said: “Michael was’t a politician when he did what he said.”
The politician continued: “What goes on with journalists is a less serious matter.”
Reid made an unfortunate error when reporting the circumstances of Gove’s apology earlier this week, a moment which left her extremely embarrassed.
In trying to explain Gove took cocaine during his days as a journalist, Reid said: “Conservative leadership candidate Michael Gove has admitted he was fortunate to avoid jail for using cocaine on several journalists.”
Realising she’d said “on journalists” instead of “as a journalist” Reid immediately put her hand to her mouth as Morgan exclaimed: “On several journalists, what?!”
Reid went on to apologise for her mistake, telling her co-host and viewers at home: “Sorry, I’m so sorry. I don’t have inside information. He used it on several occasions as a journalist.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.