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Michael Gove ‘savage’ in briefing against devolved government ministers

02 Sep 2022 2 minute read
Michael Gove. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

Michael Gove was “savage” in briefing against ministers from devolved governments, it has been claimed.

The former Minister for Intergovernmental Relations was described as the unofficial First Minister of England because he would often liaise between the UK Government and those of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The President of the Scottish National Party, Michael Russell, said however that Michael Gove would be “charming to your face” and then “go out and brief savagely against you”

He said that the phrase “you’ve been Gove’d” was coined by former Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews who was Michael Gove’s equivalent in Wales between 2009 and 2013.

Michael Russell, who was the Scottish education minister during the same period, told the Institute for Government that he himself had been on the receiving end of Michael Gove’s incessant briefing.

“I’ve spent a lot of my political career shadowing Michael Gove in one thing or another, regrettably,” he said. “But one area where he had very little influence on me was when I was education secretary and he was education secretary.

“He did not deal with higher education; I dealt with the whole gamut. But on the schools side, there was virtually nothing. So we could have conversations, but they were irrelevant.

“I always felt sorry for Leighton Andrews and the Northern Ireland education minister, John O’Dowd, because they had the exams system in common [with England].

“Leighton Andrews used to have a phrase, ‘you’ve been Gove’d’, because whatever you did, Gove would be charming to your face and would then go out and brief savagely against you and that’s just how things were and how he is.”

The claim is published as the Institute for Government releases a series of interviews as part of its Ministers Reflect series.

Michael Russell added that the main difference between the governments of Theresa May and Boris Johnson had been their attitude towards devolution.

“There was a recognition under May, no matter how limited and grudging, of the legitimate interests of the devolved governments and their rights,” he said.

“Whereas there was nothing but contempt for devolution from the Johnson government, expressed at every level even by the territorial secretaries of state.”


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Mick Tems
Mick Tems
27 days ago

I always call him Gollum Gove – the picture has a good likeness!

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
26 days ago

We need to remember that he will soon be made redundnt and so is polishing his credentials for a job under Rupert Murdoch. He would probably want the Times rather than the Daily Mail but who knows? We do know that he is no friend of Wales.

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Is ant Tory a Friend to Wales NO THEY ARE BLOODY NOT

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
26 days ago

Funny, we had the “unofficial ” First Minister of England Michael Gove dictating to Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland. Some union of equals, eh.

Hard to believe Anglophile Gove wanted to be a standup comedienne before he slid up the greasy political pole legs akimbo. Oddly enough he achieved his goal without even knowing it. As we all think he’s a bloody joke!

#YesCymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿. ✊#FightingForWelshIndependence 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿✊ #WestminsterFailsWales 🇬🇧👎

Last edited 26 days ago by Y Cymro
Dark Mrakeford
Dark Mrakeford
25 days ago

Snobby and two faced, that’s like a national sport in English gentry

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