Michael Gove suddenly cares about experts again - seven years after infamous EU referendum comment

Michael Gove suddenly cares about experts again - seven years after infamous EU referendum comment

Michael Gove reveals if he's been lobbied by Boris Johnson on weight loss


Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove seems to have had a sudden change of heart this weekend by saying we need to “follow the advice of the experts” on important issues – several years after his infamous comment during the EU referendum campaign that the public had “had enough” of them.

During an appearance on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Brexiteer was asked if former MP and ex-prime minister Boris Johnsonwith whom he hasn’t always had the best relationship – has been “lobbying” him on the issue of weight loss drugs.

The question referred to Mr Johnson’s new gig now that he’s left parliament, which is writing weekly columns for the Daily Mail – the first of which was published this week on the rather odd subject of a “wonder drug” known as semaglutide he hoped “would stop my 11:30pm fridge raids for cheddar and chorizo”.

Insightful stuff.

Anyway, Mr Gove replied: “No, when it comes to weight loss – or indeed, anything else – I think the most important thing is to follow the advice of the experts.”

After the recorded interview finished, Ms Ridge – now presenting live – quipped: “Michael Gove now a fan of experts. Who’d have thought it?”

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter


Viewers of the programme also noticed the U-turn in Mr Gove’s opinion, and praised Ms Ridge for pointing it out:

As a reminder, just over seven years ago, Mr Gove – then the justice secretary – appeared on Sky News’s EU: In Or Out programme to make the case for leaving the European Union, during which he told interviewer Faisal Islam: “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts, with organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

In further comments about experts ahead of the UK’s eventual vote to leave, Mr Gove compared economists warning about leaving the EU to Nazis who denounced Albert Einstein in the 1930s – an analogy he later apologised for and branded “clumsy and inappropriate”.

The Surrey Heath MP addressed the viral Sky News comment several months later during an interview for Newsnight, in which he claimed it was a “high profile, high intensity, high nervousness encounter”.

While he said he did not regret the use of the term “experts”, he added: “I think one of the things that is occasionally irritating, is that people assume that what I was saying was a blanket rejection of facts, evidence, rigour.”

How times change…

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)