Micheal Gove was doing the media rounds this morning to discuss the extended lockdown measures but was also asked some tough questions about his conduct.
Yesterday, Boris Johnson set a new “terminus date” of July 19 for the end of England’s coronavirus restrictions after being warned that easing restrictions as planned could lead to thousands of deaths.
The prime minister ordered a delay of up to a month to the final phase of his road map to end the lockdown due to concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.
The news was described as a “devastating blow” for the night-time industry, while hospitality businesses will also see trading impacted by continued social distancing.
As Gove’s interview with Sky News reporter, Kay Burley came to a close she asked him about a recent High Court ruling.
BREAKING: The High Court has ruled Michael Gove broke the law in handing a public contract to associates of his and Dominic Cummings at Public First.— Good Law Project (@GoodLawProject) June 9, 2021
The Court ruled a reasonable observer would think there was a real risk they won the contract because of favouritism. pic.twitter.com/tJbyjdBoAp
Burley said: “The High Court has found that you broke the law last week in your department, awarding a £500,000 contract to Public First ran by your friend and former special adviser James Frayne, that’s a breach of the ministerial code.
“Matt Hancock acted unlawfully over pandemic contracts and evidence Priti Patel broke the code in dealing with her staff as well.
“What do you have to do to get punished in the cabinet?”
“What do you have to do to get punished?”
Gove replied: “Well the first to thing say is the decision to award that contract was not my decision. I’m very happy to defend it because we were operating under pressure at a time when this pandemic required us to act with speed.
“It is also important to say that the court didn’t find any evidence that I had tried to influence this particular contract and what we were doing across government at that time was responding to a very very challenging situation and the court found that there was no actual bias in the decision that was taken by others to award this contract.”
Burley shot back: “But acting with speed doesn’t mean that you can breach the ministerial code.
Gove then stated: “There was no breach of the ministerial code”
Burley: “So when we come back to this in a month’s time are you absolutely standing by that?”
#KayBurley – The High Court found that you broke the law after your department awarded a contract to Public First & that’s a breach of the ministerial code… what do you have to do to get punished in the cabinet?— Haggis_UK ?? ?? (@Haggis_UK) June 15, 2021
Michael Gove – There was no breach of the ministerial code. pic.twitter.com/rbnL3BDr3D