‘That’s you!’ Hilarious moment Gove forgets new role in Commons during first outing

Michael Gove momentarily forgets new role in hilarious moment

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The House of Commons roared with laughter as Michael Gove made his first appearance as Levelling up Secretary but forgot about his new title. Mr Gove took answers from backbenchers about the Government’s plans for levelling up with Gosport MP Caroline Dineage asking if the Government would provide realistic housing construction figures. But as Speaker Lindsay Hoyle called on Mr Gove as “Secretary of State”, the Surrey Heath MP did not know whether to sit or stand as he became confused whether he was being addressed or not.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Dineage was one of the first MPs to ask Mr Gove a question about housing and was concerned about local culture being under threat by investment and construction of cheap housing. 

She told the House: “I’d like to welcome the Secretary of State to his role and tell him that the Gosport Peninsula is over 80 percent built on, a further 12 percent of it is a conservation area.

“There is simply nowhere to build the wildly unrealistic 2014 housing numbers without decimating any remaining green areas…

“I really understand the nation needs houses that this government champions localism.

“Can you please give me hope that they won’t be imposing unrealistic, outdated housing numbers on us?”

Mr Gove immediately rose to the despatch box with Sir Lindsay calling out “Secretary of State”.

But Mr Gove then returned to his seat, thinking the Speaker was referring to someone else.

Backbenchers were heard goading Mr Gove to stand back up and began laughing at the awkward situation.

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Mr Gove joked it was still a “surprise” to him being in that role and waited for the laughter to die down before answering the question.

The Levelling Up Secretary sympathised with Ms Dineage and said the Government’s proposals would consider the environmental and local heritage of each location before going ahead with the construction of houses.

Sir Lindsay was also guilty of a gaffe during Mr Gove’s first outing as he introduced the new Secretary of State as “Levelling Up, Housing and Communications” Secretary.

MPs across the House quickly corrected Sir Lindsay and said it was “communities”, not communications.

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Mr Gove hosted his first questions as Levelling Up Secretary after he was given the role in September this year.

The new role entrusts the Government’s levelling up manifesto pledge to Mr Gove who will be looking at ways to invest in areas in the UK that have seen little attention.

The Autumn Budget will be presented by Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week which will officially set out the Government’s plans to address the Covid economic impact which has pushed the national debt to above £2trillion.

In the last budget, Mr Sunak set out plans to introduce freeports in some northern areas in an attempt to revitalise ailing post-industrial towns.

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