Michael Gove has had a smoking hut built on the roof of his ministry so he can avoid being heckled by the public on the street.
According to Telegraph reports, the levelling up secretary had the taxpayer-funded shelter built after he was surrounded by anti-vaccine campaigners in October 2021.
He had to be escorted into the building after he was ambushed by protesters with video cameras shouting: “Arrest Michael Gove!” and “Do your job!”.
He has also faced other security threats, including being targeted by the killer of Sir David Amess and having his home address daubed on a wall in Belfast.
As a result, Gove no longer felt comfortable taking cigarette breaks outside the building in Westminster, and had a new block built on the roof.
An insider said: “The building is like a giant glass cage – it’s one long building and all the departments are joined up, so if you want to smoke you either have to go downstairs or to the roof.”
It is not known how much the smoking hut cost, but the bus shelter-like structures can sell for around £5,000.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “It is a long-standing policy not to comment on the protective security arrangements for the Secretary of State or ministers.”
A Whitehall source said: “A secure area was provided on the strong advice of police and security officials after Mr Gove was harassed by anti-vax protestors outside the department threatening to hang him, and following the discovery that David Amess’s killer, the terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, had visited Gove’s home on five occasions armed with a knife.”
Related: The Tories’ five priorities ahead of next election have got off to a shockingly bad start