Theresa May absolutely eviscerated Michael Gove in parliament and people are speechless

Louis Staples
Tuesday 30 June 2020 13:00
news

Remember Theresa May?

If you’re a member of the Windrush generation you certainly will. But given everything that’s happened lately (a general election, wildfires, a pandemic, Brexit and an anti-racist uprising, to name just a few) then it’s be understandable if Britain’s second woman PM had slipped your mind.

May seems to have made an effort to keep a low profile since she was pretty much forced to step aside last year to make way for another Etonian man. But that all changed today when the former PM and Home Secretary slammed Michael Gove in the House of Commons.

So what happened?

Michael Gove was answering questions in the Commons to defend the appointment of Boris Johnson’s chief EU negotiator David Frost to the key post of national security adviser (NSA). The appointment has raised eyebrows as security advisers are normally non-political, whereas a negotiator is a political appointment.

Frost is a political adviser rather than a career civil servant and lacks security experience. He will replace Sir Mark Sedwill, who is stepping down as Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service.

What did Theresa May say about it?

Judging by the tone of May’s question, she seems absolutely fuming about all this. Delivering a stinging question to Gove, May said she had spent nine years on the National Security Council listening to "expert, independent advice" and that Johnson's move would put someone with "no proven experience" in the top role.

She said:

I served on National Security Council for nine years, six as Home Secretary and three as Prime Minister.

During that time I listened to the expert independent advice from National Security Advisors.

On Saturday, Mr Right Honourable Friend (Mr Gove) said we must able to promote those with 'proven expertise'

Why then, is the new national security adviser a political appointee with no proven expertise in national security?

How did Gove respond?

He said not all national security advisers have been "steeped in the security world" but they were all "excellent", saying:

David Frost is a distinguished diplomat in his own right, and it is entirely appropriate that the Prime Minister of the day should choose an advisor appropriate to the needs of the hour.

As Gove responded, May shook her head and was described as “visibly seething” while he praised the PM’s appointment.

Amid further criticism from Tories including former leader and foreign secretary William Hague, Downing Street has defended the appointment and rejected the notion that Frost’s predecessor was forced out.

What did people make of May’s moment?

In a nutshell: people are living for it, but also pretty shocked by it.

It’s unusual for former PMs to make such bold statements, which insinuates May is very, very unhappy about this new appointment. After the way she was kicked out of Downing Street to make way for Johnson, there’s something satisfying about her letting him and his allies have a piece of her mind.

Perhaps we’ll be seeing more of May’s questions soon? Judging by this one, the PM and his allies should be worried.

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