Michael Gove derided northerners as “dirty and toothless” and made a string of sexist, racist and homophobic remarks in newly-discovered comments.
Recordings of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at three Cambridge Union debates – one when he was a student in 1987 and two more in 1993, when he was a journalist – reveal him making a number of crude jibes.
In one tape, Gove can be heard hailing Margaret Thatcher’s “new empire” – where “the happy south stamps over the cruel, dirty, toothless face of the northerner”.
In another eye-brow raising recording, the top Tory says gay people “thrive primarily on short-term relations”.
He adds: “Those of us who’ve spent hours in New York bath houses will realise that in one night you can pack in 15 loving relationships and 300 one night stands and still be none the worse for wear.”
Michael Gove celebrates ‘stamping on toothless face of northerners’ in resurfaced speech pic.twitter.com/ANWGBPydYT— The Independent (@Independent) September 13, 2021
In a third clip, Gove can be heard making a racist comment, saying: “It may be moral to keep an empire because the fuzzy-wuzzies can’t look after themselves.
“It may be immoral to keep an empire because the people of the third world have an inalienable right to self-determination.”
The tapes were obtained by the Independent – and sources close to Gove have not disputed the authenticity of the recordings.
In one clip, the Cabinet Office minister can be heard making sexist jokes about Lucy Frazer – then a student, now an MP. He said she had “come from the back streets of the slums of Leeds”, and suggested she liked fruit-flavoured condoms.
He added: “You can still see something of the poverty there. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to finish her skirt before she came here this evening.”
In another recording, Gove said Frazer was “actually capable of tempting me into bed with her” – and suggested that a college’s entire rugby club had had sex with her.
Michael Gove says gay people ‘thrive on short term relationships’ in resurfaced speech pic.twitter.com/tgFlJIQ5wK— The Independent (@Independent) September 13, 2021
‘Inappropriate and racist’
Wendy Chamberlain, the Lib Dem MP, told the Independent: “Michael Gove should be ashamed that he ever thought these things, let alone said them.
“These inappropriate and racist remarks are not befitting of a government minister, not befitting a journalist, in fact not befitting anyone.
“The prime minister should consider whether this is the type of person that deserves to be sat around the cabinet table.
“However, given Boris Johnson ’s own history of disgraceful remarks, I expect this will be another shameful issue he lets go unchallenged.”