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Michael Gove tells people to ‘calm down’ in Scouse accent as he rules out emergency budget

Gove also uses American accent in bizarre interview – insisting cost of living row ‘no big deal’

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 11 May 2022 13:17 BST
Michael Gove tells people to ‘calm down’ in Scouse accent in bizarre interview

Michael Gove has said there will be no emergency budget this summer – insisting that the issue was “no big deal” despite the mounting cost of living crisis.

In a bizarre interview with the BBC, the cabinet minister used a Liverpudlian accent to suggest people “calm down” over the lack of extra financial support before the autumn budget.

It follows confusion over Boris Johnson’s promise that more help would be revealed in “the days to come”, before the Treasury ruled out further short-term financial measures.

“The prime minister was making the point we are constantly looking at ideas to relieve the pressure on people facing incredibly tough times – but that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget,” Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast.

The minister added: “It’s example of some commentators trying to take a statement that is commonsensical, turning it into – capital letters – a big news story, when the Treasury quite rightly say, ‘Calm down’.”

Asked later about Mr Gove’s use of regional accents, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson told reporters he was not aware of the levelling up secretary breaking into Scouse during cabinet meetings.

He added: “Michael Gove is an effective cabinet communicator who has a variety of means of getting the message across.”

Mr Gove claimed the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey had stirred the confusion into a “media whirlpool” – saying the emergency budget issue was “no big deal” and people should “get it in proportion”.

The senior Tory said the Lib Dem leader “doesn’t have a scooby”.

The levelling up minister also claimed Labour and Lib Dems have no “whizz bang ideas” to address the cost of living crisis – despite rejecting their call for a windfall tax on oil and gas company profits.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner responded to Mr Gove’s BBC interview by tweeting: “Is the cost of living crisis just a joke to them? This is not a serious government. We need an emergency budget right now.”

Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy said Mr Gove was “making jokes and using silly voices while families across the country are struggling to survive. This isn’t a game …Take it seriously. Do your job”.

Mr Johnson’s government was accused of abandoning British families to a life of poverty, after Queen’s Speech contained no new measures to deal with the cost of living crisis.

Labour said it was “thin” legislative agenda with no big ideas, while one leading think tank described the package as “cosmetic surgery for an economy facing a heart attack”.

Senior ministers, including the PM and chancellor Rishi Sunak, are assessing proposals from cabinet colleagues for money-saving measures that can be achieved without cost to the government.

Mr Gove said cabinet minister had discussed cost-free measures on Tuesday evening, but did not reveal what they were. He said the government will be “saying more and doing more” to help people with the cost of living crisis.

“But that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget,” he told Sky News. “Policy initiatives will be announced by indivudual departments in due course.”

Mr Gove has a history of controversial remarks. In 2001 he wrote an article arguing British men had been subject to a “collective cuckolding” and should learn to embrace male chauvinism.

The Independent revealed last year that Mr Gove made crude sexual comments, joked about paedophilia within top levels of government, and used a racist slur during his student days.

The minister described Prince Charles as a “dull, wet, drippy adulterer” in speeches at the Cambridge Union while he was a student at Oxford, and after his graduation while working as a journalist.

In apparent attempts at humour, Mr Gove also referred to people living in countries colonised by the British as “fuzzy-wuzzies”, and made a string of sexual jokes at the expense of Tory minister Lucy Frazer.

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