Michael Gove has defended overseeing a regime that could impose lifetime bans on teachers caught with class A drugs despite his own past use of cocaine.
In recent days, the former education secretary has admitted that he had taken the drug on several occasions around 20 years ago when he was a journalist.
In an interview on BBC Marr Show this morning, the Tory leadership contender was challenged about teacher misconduct rules that were in place while he led the DfE.
Quick read: Gove pledges £1bn increase to schools' budget
Background: Michael Gove: Top quotes
Andrew Marr asked: “On your watch, as I understand it, any teacher caught with Class A drugs could be suspended as teacher for life. Is that true?”
Mr Gove responded: “It is the case that we would be talking there about people who would be using it as part of their professional life."
Asked whether he brought this rule change in, he said: “No, I don’t believe so, no.”
Mr Gove, who has pledged to increase school funding by £1 billion if he became prime minister, also said that "no-one asked" about drug use when he became a government minister in 2010.
He said: "I don't believe that I have ever on any occasion failed to tell the truth about this when asked directly".
Asked if he should have gone to prison, Mr Gove said: "I was fortunate in that I didn't, but I do think it was a profound mistake and I have seen the damage drugs do."
The former justice secretary said: "I have seen it close up and I have also seen it in the work that I have done as a politician.
"That is why I deeply regret the mistake that I made."
Mr Gove faced claims of hypocrisy over a column he wrote for the Times hitting out at "London's liberal consensus" around decriminalisation of drugs.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Gove hosted a party the night before the column was published in which the Class A drug was allegedly taken by guests.
Asked by Mr Marr whether he was a hypocrite, Mr Gove said: "No. I think anyone can read the article and make their own minds up. The point that I made in the article is that if any of us lapse sometimes from standards that we uphold, that is human.
"The thing to do is not necessarily then to say that the standards should be lowered. It should be to reflect on the lapse and to seek to do better in the future."