Michael Gove

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© Mark Thomas

Leave, WhosInWhosOut
Mar.2018: “The opportunities available to us after the transition deal are critically important.”
Sept.2018: “We have shown flexibility in this process. We expect and hope and anticipate that there will be flexibility and compromise.”
Nov.2016: “There are some people who can’t get over the fact that the British people voted to leave the European Union and want us to have a transitional arrangement which is as close as possible [to the current arrangement].”
Apr.2016 “After we vote to leave the other (EU) countries will know that until a deal which suits us is reached we still retain a veto over their plans. So that gives us all the cards.” What they said then and what they’re saying now, The Times, Oliver Wright, Nov.16.2018.

Newly appointed Brexit minister Dominic Raab and environment secretary Michael Gove were active supporters of the ERG before being promoted to cabinet roles ref, while international trade secretary Liam Fox has also used the ERG to gather support among MPs. Tory MP John Redwood, former environment secretary Owen Paterson and new peer Peter Lilley are also members of the ERG and notable climate science deniers. ref See also https://www.desmog.co.uk/michael-gove

Genetically Modified Organisms

  • Nov.30.2018: Michael Gove pledges genetic food revolution. Gove says Britain will lead an agricultural revolution with the use of gene editing despite concerns about genetically modified food. He pledged that scientists and farmers would be freed from a European Court of Justice ruling that had the effect of halting the use of food produced using the technology. Gove told the Country Land and Business Association: “Even if there are individual lobby groups that express their legitimate concerns we will ensure those scientific tools are there for those who can improve productivity in a genuinely sustainable way. (translation: they will be ignored.) The Sainsbury Laboratory crew were happy. The Soil Association urged the govt to keep the UK aligned with the European court ruling which had backed scientific evidence that gene editing “causes many profound mutations and DNA damage”. David Brown, The Guardian.


  • Feb.06.2019: ‘A special place in hell’: which Brexiters did Tusk have in mind? Three months before the referendum, the then justice secretary – who recently conceded a no-deal, crash-out Brexit would be catastrophic for Britain’s farmers – was boldly assuring voters: “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.” A transition period would in fact be pointless, Gove argued in November that year: “I am prepared to take the economic hit to secure the economic benefits of not being in the single market and being outside the customs union. I simply want … a quickie divorce.” Jon Henley, The Guardian.
  • Jan.14.2019: Child abuse inquiry refuses to publish evidence on Gove phone call claim. It was alleged the then education secretary tried to find out about an active investigation into a Catholic priest in 2010. A public inquiry has refused to publish evidence that could shed light on an allegation that Michael Gove intervened in a child sexual abuse investigation. The inquiry also refused to answer questions about how many people gave evidence about the allegation concerning Gove, how many witness statements were taken, and whether these statements were circulated to victims and others taking part in the inquiry. Owen Bowcott, Rob Evans, The Guardian.
  • Nov.15.2018: I’ve had a busy day, says PM after seven quit within hours. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, had been offered the Brexit secretary job, after Mr Raab’s resignation. Negotiations continued behind the scenes over Mr Gove’s condition that he would take the job only if he could go back to Brussels and renegotiate the deal. It was a demand that was not granted. Oliver Wright, The Times.
  • Oct.07.2018: Michael Gove’s hot tip: hunt for gold in others’ rubbish. Michael Gove's Brexit Dividend: scavenging in rubbish tips. Michael Gove has a plan to boost post-Brexit Britain — open the nation’s waste dumps for business. The environment secretary wants all council waste sites to let people pick over reject appliances, old TVs and half-used paint cans to find things they can use. Gove said he wanted a change in the law on domestic dumps so that people could recover others’ cast-offs. “We must reduce the amount of material we waste,” he told a meeting. Jonathan Leake, The Times.
  • Sept.28.2018: Potential threats waiting in the wings. Theresa May’s party conference speech is titled Campaign 2022 — but few think she will make it that far. Michael Gove, environment secretary. Pitch: A Brexiteer with whom Remainers can do business. Strengths: Brexit credentials: he went against a close friend to back the Leave campaign. Modernising credentials: he was at the heart of the Cameron programme to detoxify the Conservative Party. Governing credentials: he has forged a radical agenda in every department he’s run. Weaknesses: His Brexit credentials have been damaged among the Tory right over his embrace of Chequers. His leadership campaign in 2016 was disastrous and there is lingering mistrust in all wings of the party over his betrayal of first David Cameron and then Boris Johnson. Backers: Nick Boles ran his campaign in 2016 and would likely do so again. His appeal crosses traditional lines: last time his nomination was proposed by Nicky Morgan, the leading pro-EU Tory. Polling among Conservative voters: 19% think he would make a good leader. 55% don't. 12% are not sure and 14% don’t know enough about him to say. Henry Zeffman, The Times.
  • Sept.16.2018: Michael Gove refuses to condemn far-right Hungarian leader Viktor Orban. Cabinet minister Michael Gove has refused to condemn Viktor Orban as he was grilled over the decision by Conservative MEPs to oppose a measure to censure the far-right Hungarian government. Critics suggest Gove had “complete moral bankruptcy”. His remarks came amid an escalating row over the Tory MEPs' vote in the European Parliament earlier this week to stop the Hungarian leader being censured for widely-condemned behaviour, such as violating press freedoms and waging an antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman. Ashley Cowburn, The Independent.
  • Sept.16.2018: We won’t let future PM unpick Brexit deal, vows Michel Barnier. The European Union is insisting on cast iron guarantees that Britain will not attempt to reopen the terms of any Brexit deal after it has been signed. Michael Gove claimed at the weekend that a future PM could “choose to alter” the relationship between Britain and the EU. France is particularly suspicious that British negotiators want to fudge a political declaration on a future trading relationship and loosen commitments on Ireland. Bruno Waterfield, Oliver Wright, The Times.
  • May.23.2018: Michael Gove attacks Philip Hammond over Brexit legislation defeats. Environment secretary’s letter to fellow ministers blames Treasury for Lords defeat in fresh cabinet division. Gove, who has been seeking to rebuild his political career after failing to secure the Tory leadership in 2016, blamed Philip Hammond for the govt’s Lords defeat over its flagship Brexit legislation. He accused the Treasury of “short-sightedness” that led to the “avoidable” defeat over the European Union withdrawal bill. Gove said that choosing to follow the path favoured by Hammond on environmental regulations, rather than the one he proposed, had left the govt at the mercy of the “reality of parliamentary arithmetic”. The govt suffered 15 defeats in the Lords over the bill. Gove favoured giving a post-Brexit watchdog the power to fine central and local govt if they failed to meet targets on recycling and pollution. He believed that maintaining a similar level of environmental protection to that currently in place would be necessary to placate the Lords. But the chancellor argued against encumbering authorities with more regulation than he felt necessary. Kevin Rawlinson, Pippa Crerar, The Guardian. See also Michael Gove blames 'short-sighted' Philip Hammond for Government's Brexit defeat in Lords
  • May.22.2018: AI may well be the future but the Maybot gives it a bad name. Next it was Michael Gove’s turn to suffer from an irony bypass, at a Policy Exchange event in central London. In his latest attempt to reshape the world to how he would like it to be, the environment secretary gave us a new take on immigration. Brexit had made us a more tolerant nation, he declared. By making it so clear to hundreds of thousands of immigrants that we didn’t want them, we were extending the warmest of welcomes to the tens of thousands we did want to allow in to make us a bit richer. Too many people were playing identity politics with Brexit, the Gover went on. Especially the SNP. This was the same Michael Gove who had happily stood in front of a poster claiming 80 million Turks would “flood” the UK if we stayed in the EU. The same Michael Gove who had never looked happier than when playing dogwhistle politics. His ability to forgive himself is only matched by his ability to forget. John Crace, The Guardian.
  • Apr.10.2018: Export of live animals may be banned after Brexit. Mr Gove stopped short of pledging to ban live exports for slaughter despite previously suggesting that this could be one of the benefits of Brexit. The export of live sheep and cows for slaughter abroad could be banned after Brexit following a “call for evidence” on the issue by the govt today. Michael Gove said “all options” for improving the welfare of livestock during transport were being considered, including a ban on live export of animals destined for foreign abattoirs. See Comments. Linkback: Meat Industry. Ben Webster, The Times.
  • Mar.26.2018: Pro-hunt lobby group offers to help Labour. A joint report by the pro-hunting lobby group the Countryside Alliance and the Fabian Society, a left-leaning think tank with formal links to Labour, will warn the party not to focus on animal welfare at the expense of other rural concerns. The assessment came days after the House of Lords recommended that [[[DEFRA]] should be stripped of its responsibilities for rural affairs because it was too preoccupied with farming and the environment. Jerome Starkey, The Times. Nice pic here of Gove with a shotgun, holding up a dead grouse.
  • Mar.20.2018: Never mind the pollocks, here's Michael Gove. So the fishermen had been sold down the river for the Brexit deal. At least they’d never vote Labour. It had only been a couple of weeks since the prime minister promised that British fishermen would be free of the EU Common Fisheries Policy at the end of Mar.2019. Now it turned out they were expendable and that, as part of the Brexit transition agreement, Britain would be staying in for an extra 21 months. Only with significantly fewer bargaining chips than before. Michael Gove John Crace, The Guardian.
  • Sept.22.2017: Michael Gove Accused Of Suppressing Report Into Whether Brexit Will Cause Food Prices To Rise. The government has refused to publish a DEFRA analysis because “premature disclosure of information could seriously mislead the public and is not in the public interest”, in response to Unite's FoI request. Tom Brake said “The truth is clear that on our current path prices will go up, jobs will be lost, public services will suffer and Britain’s place in the world will be diminished." However former Tory environment secretary Owen Paterson, who campaigned for Brexit, said families could actually get a ”£300 plus annual bonus” by removing tariffs from food after the UK leaves the EU. Ned Simons, HuffPost.
  • Dec.20.2017: "You’re a LIAR". Labour MP slapped down by Michael Gove after furious outburst. Speaking at the DEFRA committee, Mr Gove had been discussing the government’s plans for Britain’s future outside of the bloc. But Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, lashed out at the Brexit campaigner over the infamous Vote Leave bus slogan, which pledged to invest the £350 million a week that would otherwise go into the EU coffers on the NHS. Mr Flynn said: "The figure was a gross one, and to use it was an entirely dishonest move by you. It was a lie, a deception, a confidence trick, it was untrue". Responding, Mr Gove said: “I think technically speaking that’s unparliamentary language. But Mr Flynn railed back, saying: "Well I’ve used unparliamentary language to challenge unparliamentary conduct which is lying to the country". Mr Gove said: "Paul, if you’re going to say to your constituents that the reason that they voted as they did in the EU referendum is because they were too stupid to understand the arguments then good luck at the next election." Vincent Wood, The Express.
  • Oct.02.2017: Iain Dale’s 100 most influential people on the Right 2017. Secretary of State for DEFRA. As we said last year, when he fell 26 places in this list, “what a difference a year makes”. He kept his nose clean during his wilderness year on the back benches, and was used heavily during the election campaign to represent the Party on the media. Gove was brought back in an unlikely department but so far has remained totally loyal and not put a foot wrong. Iain Dale, Conservative Home.


Little Govey turns coat and decides that Boris is not up to the job of PM, but - here's a surprise - Govey reluctantly concludes that he is just the man for the job. His poll ratings among Tory MPs plummets. © Andy Davey
  • Oct.25.2016: Michael Gove denies stabbing Boris Johnson in the back. Former justice secretary says rival bid for Tory leadership was ‘not treachery’ and hints at possible return to frontbench. Michael Gove has denied he stabbed his former ally Boris Johnson in the back when he stood against for the Conservative leadership, saying he believed the Tories had made the right decision by making Theresa May prime minister. Jessica Elgot, The Guardian.
  • Jul.05.2016: Michael Gove a ‘fanatic’ who would damage peace process. Brexit campaigner said Belfast Agreement was a ‘rigged referendum’ and ‘mortal stain’. Michael Gove is a “fanatic” who would be “dangerous” for the Northern Irish peace process and North-South relations if he won the Conservative Party leadership election, senior figures involved in the design and implementation of the Belfast Agreement have warned. Peter Geoghegan, The Irish Times.


  • Nov.2015: Stop Prison Expansion. The Velvet Glove of Michael Gove. Gove is a "proud neoconservative" and described the invasion of Iraq as a "proper British foreign policy success". Gove has even written in support of bringing back hanging as capital punishment. Allowing "business to proceed" is the heart of Gove’s efforts. Free market capitalism is at the beating heart of his reforms. This allegedly benevolent Minister really cares about those experiencing oppression as he continues with legal aid cuts and criminal charges that will change the face of the ‘criminal justice’ system forever. Designing them for ‘rehabilitation’ means designing spaces for workshops and businesses. At the centre of the design for the new prison in North Wales are two workshops allowing 800 prisoners to be employed by companies exploiting their labour. In 2013-2014, prisons in England and Wales signed contracts with private companies worth £14.7m. Prisoners can earn betweeen £2.50 to £25 per week working for prisons and private companies within them. It was also announced in February that prisoners will now be manufacturing items for the British Army. Research in the US show that the Iraq war was underpinned by prison labour. (more...) Linkback: HM Prison and Probation Service Cape Campaign.
  • Oct.10.2000: Be politically astute, not politically correct. One of the first tests for liberal Tories will be their approach to the report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain launched tomorrow. Under the chairmanship of Lord Parekh, the commission has drawn up a series of policy recommendations designed to show that Britain does not just tolerate but cherish diversity. ...the recommendations ...are orders for a forced march down one path, paved with good intentions, towards a massive and illiberal extension of state power. (...) Lord Parekh's report treads a path already traversed by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny (William Macpherson (judge)Wikipedia-W.svg) in the Stephen Lawrence inquiryWikipedia-W.svg. It too depicted Britain as a racist society which required massive state intervention and colour-sensitive employment quotas to promote harmony. The tendentious reasoning and illiberal recommendations of that document have been brilliantly anatomised by the ethical socialists Norman DennisWikipedia-W.svg, George Erdos and the Kurdish academic Ahmed al-Shahi in the Civitas pamphlet "Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics". But there are still Tories, most notably Steve Norris, who are pressing for the implementation of Macpherson in full because they believe that is the only way to convince black Britons that the party is serious about equality of opportunity. Norris's heart is in the right place, but his reasoning is flawed. Liberal Tories know that increasing state power, and intervening in personal choice, do not promote prosperity in the economic sphere. Winning that argument was one of the great achievements of the Eighties. So why should liberal Tories now believe that the weapons which failed to promote economic prosperity will best secure social harmony? Tories should work as hard as possible to reach out, but they should not forget that govt’s embrace is never as effective as the invisible hand. From the W'pedia article: "The report was criticised at the time by Michael Gove ..." Michael Gove, The Times.

Sarah Vine Articles

  • Jan.27.2018: Our sentience bill will hurt - not help - animals, Michael Gove told. Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge and chair of the APPG for Animal Welfare, told colleagues debating the bill that protecting animals from pain and suffering may "draw into question some traditional practices [such as] shooting." Other unintended consequences could include forcing farmers to feed wild rabbits if they are hungry in their fields. Jerome Starkey, Francis Elliott, The Times.