Michael Gove, who will be remembered as the education secretary who was a stickler for old-fashioned education, has admitted that Stephen Fry has corrected his grammar.
The new Justice Secretary was accused of patronising civil servants last week, after he sent round a list telling them not to write “make sure” instead of “ensure” or use the term “impact” as a verb, amongst other rules.
Asked by BBC Four's World at One programme to clarify whether he compiled the list, he explained that he had written a note of his “preferences” when he was Education Secretary, and that “extremely assiduous” officials at the Ministry of Justice passed on the list to those who were preparing correspondence and briefs.
He then went on to reveal that QI presenter Stephen Fry texted him and scolded him for his “linguistic errors” in the document entitled “Ministerial Correspondence Preferences”.
“It’s excited quite a lot of comment, there was a very funny article taking me to task in the Times today by Oliver Kamm, and also I received a text from Stephen Fry correcting me on some of my own errors linguistically," he said.
Driving the point home, Radio 4 presenter Martha Kearney then played Gove audio footage of him using the word “operationalise” previously on the show, The Huffington Post reported.
“I think I'll have to have a word with the, sort of, keepers of the arc of the English language and I think 'operationalising' is a particularly ugly construction, unfitted for broadcast,” he replied.
Michael Gove's memorable moments
Michael Gove's memorable moments
1/5 Gove 'claims people move to London for “loads of hot sex”'
The Tory politician allegedly made a surprising claim that no doubt led to chair of Tech City UK Joanne Shields spluttering into her coffee when he reportedly explained to her that London’s young entrepreneurs have been attracted to the capital because of all of the “hot sex” on offer. Hmmmm.
2/5 Gove and the #BritishValues backlash
The Twitter sphere decided to educate the Education Secretary on some of the traits actually associated with being British, after it emerged schools would be required to encourage the promotion of “fundamental British values” in the classroom in the wake of the Birmingham “Trojan Horse” investigation. Among the many suggestions were Stuart Brown’s summary of: “Being wary of foreigners while having a Belgian beer with an Indian curry in your Spanish villa wearing Indonesian clothes.” LBC presenter James O’Brien meanwhile suggested “queuing; dressing inappropriately when the sun comes out; warm beer; winning World Wars; immigration & Pot Noodles” could be placed within the British Values bracket, while “socks and sandals” and “complaining about immigration” have proved relatively popular.
PA; E+; Getty Images
3/5 Gove performs Wham! rap to school children
As part of the BBC’s News School Report project, school children were given the opportunity to interview Mr Gove, who claimed to be a fan of rap music. When asked by one girl if he would give them “a taster of your favourite rap”, he responded with an impromptu performance of a Wham! song, complete with bobbing, fist clenching and the lines: “Hey everybody look at me, I’ve got street credibility. I may not have a job but I have a good time with the boys I meet down on the line.”
4/5 Gove is filmed falling over in a Vine
The (very blurry) moment Gove was filmed falling over before hurriedly climbing back up and walking off in a Vine quickly went viral.
5/5 Gove poses for selfie with school children
In a trend that stubbornly refuses to disappear, Mr Gove decided to jump on the bandwagon by posing for a selfie – although he did apparently warn the children to “watch out that he didn’t break the camera”.