WATCH Michael Gove insists he and Liz Truss are ‘best friends’ despite speech jibe

Posted On: 
28th June 2018

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has brushed off an attack on him by Cabinet colleague Liz Truss, insisting he is the "best of friends" with the Treasury Secretary.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said his colleague had "a fantastic sense of humour"

Ms Truss was rebuked by Downing Street after using a speech this week to make a thinly-veiled swipe at the Environment Secretary's green crusade.

She said: "Too often we're hearing about eating too many doughnuts, drinking from disposable cups through plastic straws, or enjoying the warm glow of our wood-burning Goves - I mean stoves."

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But Mr Gove made light of the spat today, insisting that he and his Cabinet colleague were "the best of friends".

"That's why we can crack jokes," he told ITV News. "I think one of the things about politics sometimes is its assumed that politicians don't have a sense of humour.

"And one of the things about Liz is that she's got a fantastic sense of humour and she was teasing me gently and that's the in the nature of our relationship."

The attack on Mr Gove came in a week in which the Cabinet descended into open warfare over their responses to of businesses' warnings about the impacts of Brexit.

After aviation firm Airbus warned that a hard Brexit could lead to job losses, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused businesses of "completely inappropriate" interventions that could undermine talks with the EU, while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was reported to have uttered the words "f**k business" at a Foreign Office reception.

That prompted a slapdown from Business Secretary Greg Clark, who said firms were "entitled to be listened to with respect", while Defence Minister Guto Bebb blasted the "leadership aspirations of multi-millionaires".

Ms Truss also used her speech to slap down calls from ministers including Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid for the Treasury to loosen its purse-strings and hand their departments extra cash.

"Those familiar with the 1984 film Gremlins – will recall how the cute Gizmo, when fed after midnight, turned into a slime-soaked baddie Stripe," she said.

"In much the same way, there’s a tendency for governments and bureaucracy to multiply and exert further control. And before you know it gremlins are everywhere. There is a temptation to feed these creatures after midnight.

"But more widely, some of my colleagues are not being clear about the tax implications of their proposed higher spending. That’s why, in next year’s spending review, I want to take a zero-based, zero-tolerance approach to wasteful spend."