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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 10:15 GMT
Hamilton 'shared joint' with Ali G
Ali G: Cult comedian was filming for a new series
Disgraced former minister Neil Hamilton has told how he smoked what appeared to be cannabis while filming an interview for a late night chat show.

Mr Hamilton, who faces bankruptcy after losing his High Court libel action against Harrods boss Mohamed al-Fayed, said he was offered and accepted what looked like a cannabis cigarette from spoof interviewer Ali G.


He generously offered me a 'joint'. Of course I tried it. I'm always one for new experiences.

Neil Hamilton
The former Tory MP was filming an interview for the new series from Ali G, played by satirist Sacha Baron Cohen, six months ago.

The revelation comes days after Cabinet Office minister Mo Mowlam admitted trying cannabis as a student.

Mr Hamilton said: "He generously offered me a 'joint'. Of course I tried it. I'm always one for new experiences, as you know.

Neil Hamilton: Lost his libel action last month
"I couldn't taste anything whatsoever so I presume, quite sadly, that it was a spoof."

The former Tatton MP also said he and Ali G had built up an instant rapport during the interview, which focused on the cash-for-questions allegations and his relations with Mr al-Fayed.

Last week, the comic character was accused of racism for apparently ridiculing black street culture.

But Mr Hamilton said: "I know he's been accused of being a racist but I think having been on TV with me is far more dangerous to his image.

"He might be thought of as a Tory, and goodness knows what damage that would do."

When asked if he had acted sensibly in taking part in the stunt, he replied: "If I had behaved entirely wisely throughout my political career I would be entirely unknown, wouldn't I?"


If I had behaved entirely wisely throughout my political career I would be entirely unknown, wouldn't I?

Neil Hamilton
'Respect'

His wife Christine, 50, who was also present during filming, said she did not feel Ali G was offensive.

She said: "None of our black friends find him offensive at all. Neil and Ali ended up with total 'respect' for each other."

A Channel 4 spokesman said he was not aware of the contents of the interview with Mr Hamilton.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Neil Hamilton
"I neither enjoyed it nor disliked it"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Cannabis
Should you come clean?
See also:

16 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam: I smoked cannabis
11 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Racism rap for Ali G
17 Jan 00 | Talking Point
Cannabis - Should you come clean?
17 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam has changed drugs debate - MP
21 Dec 99 | UK
Hamilton loses libel case
21 Dec 99 | UK
Hamilton: I'm broke
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