Michael Gove insulted dirty, toothless northerners in unearthed recordings

Ian Blackford mocks Michael Gove’s dancing during SNP speech

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Mr Gove was one of the Tory politicians instrumental in securing the Leave vote and has been widely tipped for promotion in the next Cabinet reshuffle. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was even put in charge of “fixing” Britain’s food supply chains, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Mr Johnson quipped that he “doesn’t want to have to cancel Christmas again”, after industry leaders warned customers should prepare for permanent shortages in supermarkets.

The shortages have been attributed to a lack of lorry drivers and food processing workers.

Yet, unearthed recordings reveal Mr Gove made snide remarks against the north while he was a student at Oxford.

In 1987, while Mr Gove was president-elect of the debating society, he took part in a debating competition in Cambridge, and spoke in favour of the motion “this house believes that the British Empire was lost on the playing fields of Eton”.

When speaking about the Prime Minister at the time Margaret Thatcher, he said: “We are at last experiencing a new empire, an empire where the happy South stamps over the cruel, dirty toothless face of the northerner.

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“At last Mrs Thatcher is saying I don’t give a fig what half the population is saying, because the richer half will keep me in power.

“This may be amoral, this may be immoral, but it’s politics and pragmatism.”

In the recordings, acquired by The Independent, Mr Gove also called Prince Charles a “dull, wet, drippy adulterer”.

The Cabinet minister subsequently used a racist term to describe black people, which was met by an audience member shouting “shame”.

He continued: “It may be immoral to keep an empire because the people of the third world have an inalienable right to self-determination, but that doesn’t matter whether it’s moral or immoral.”

While discussing homosexuality Mr Gove claimed economist John Maynard Keynes was a “homosexualist” and that “many of us are familiar with the fact that homosexuals thrive primarily in short-term relations”.

In 1993, Gove had become a television journalist at the BBC working on politics programme On the Record, and Channel 4’s short-lived comedy show A Stab in the Dark.

That year he spoke twice at Cambridge University debates.

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In one speech he directed a number of sexist remarks towards Lucy Frazer, who was head of the Cambridge Union and now justice minister.

He also claimed she had “done remarkably well coming as she has done from the back streets of the slums of Leeds”.

He also made jokes about paedophilia at the expense of the then-European Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan.

Sir Brittan, who died in 2015, was once targeted by police in a VIP sexual abuse investigation after a made-up testimony by Carl Beech.

Beech was sentenced to 18 years for perverting the course of justice.

Sources close to Mr Gove told the BBC that university debates were often based on ridiculous motions which the speaker did not necessarily agree with but had to defend.

Mr Gove declined to comment on the Independent’s report this week.

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