Michael Gove under fire for flouting his own disposable cup ban

Posted On: 
13th June 2018

Michael Gove has been criticised for using a disposable coffee cup, despite previously taking a stand against them.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove enters Number 10 brandishing a reusable coffee cup

The Environment Secretary has railed against single-use plastics such as coffee cups and straws since being appointed to the brief.

He even handed out reusable hot drink containers to Cabinet colleagues at a meeting earlier this year, and has been repeatedly photographed with his own bamboo mug.     

MPs slam ministers for dismissing calls for latte levy on coffee cups

REVEALED: How government departments dump millions of disposable coffee cups every year

Michael Gove vows crackdown on ‘waste crime’ by organised gangs

But Mr Gove today appeared to be flouting his own advice, when he appeared in front of the Environment Committee.    

Confronting the Cabinet Minister, Conservative MP Caroline Johnson – who was herself using a reusable cup – said: "This Government has worked very hard for getting rid of single-use plastics.

“You have often been seen with a cup like this one."

Mr Gove responded by blaming Parliamentary staff, telling the MPs: "I'm afraid it's the House of Commons canteen."

Commenting on the gaffe, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman Tim Farron said: "This shows how seriously Gove takes the environment and is seemingly flouting his own departments advice. 

"His green image is as easy to throw out as his paper cup.”

The Environment Secretary has been under pressure to introduce a 25p ‘latte levy’ on disposable cups since the policy was recommended in an Environmental Audit Committee report.

Chair of that committee, Mary Creagh said: "The UK's throwaway culture is having a devastating impact on our streets, beaches and seas.

“Our report recommended practical solutions to the disposable packaging crisis.”

However, the department has resisted introducing the charge, suggesting businesses should take the lead on reducing waste instead by offering customers discounts.