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Cleverly apologises for drink-spiking comments

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

A month after ‘Stockton-gate‘, the Home Secretary is in the headlines again over reports of another verbal indiscretion. James Cleverly has tonight apologised for comments made at a Downing Street reception about spiking his wife’s drink with a date rape drug. Speaking to female reporters at the No. 10 lobby drinks on Monday, Cleverly said that ‘a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night’ was ‘not really illegal if it’s only a little bit’, according to the Sunday Mirror.

The remarks came on the same day that the Home Office announced plans to crack down on spiking. Cleverly – who is often accompanied at such events by his wife Susie – also laughed that the secret to a long marriage was ensuring your spouse was ‘someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men out there.’

Conversations at Downing Street receptions are usually understood to be ‘off the record’, but the Sunday Mirror decided to break that convention because they say the joke crosses the line or, in their words ‘we believe these are exceptional circumstances given his role as Home Secretary and the subject matter. It is our duty to inform readers of what was said by the minister responsible for crime.’

A spokesman for Cleverly said: ‘In what was always understood as a private conversation, James, the Home Secretary, tackling spiking made what was clearly meant to be an ironic joke – for which he apologises.’ Just don’t expect the Mirror to be top off Cleverly’s Christmas card list for next year…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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