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12 September 2011

Osborne faces drugs claims

"He took [cocaine] on a regular basis", alleges Natalie Rowe, a former friend of the Chancellor's.

By Samira Shackle

Natalie Rowe, a former friend of George Osborne, has given an interview in which she alleges that the Chancellor regularly took cocaine while working for William Hague. Rowe is the woman standing next to Osborne in a notorious photograph which shows a white powder in front of them.

She told ABC Australia:

There was definitely, there was cocaine on that night on the table. George Osborne did take cocaine on that night. And not just on that night. He took it on a regular basis with me, with his friends.

There were more witnesses, not just me, that witnessed George Osborne taking cocaine. So it’s you know, there are other people out there that know the truth.

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On that particular night he had taken a line. And I said to George jokingly that when you’re prime minister one day I’ll have all the dirty goods on you. And he laughed and took a big fat line of cocaine.

Osborne has consistently denied any wrongdoing. He was not available for comment to ABC.

As the Guardian’s Andy Sparrow reports, when the claims first emerged six years ago:

[Osborne] issued a statement describing the allegations as “completely untrue” and part of a smear campaign intended to damage the David Cameron campaign (which Osborne was running) in the Tory leadership contest. Rowe did not produce any evidence (beyond the photograph, which did not prove anything) to substantiate the claim, the papers did not pursue the issue aggressively and eventually it was forgotten.