Mr Gove is said to play a crucial role in government when it comes to Scotland. Last month plans to create a Cabinet post for the Union to counter the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) growing push for independence were reportedly rejected because Mr Gove already takes responsibility. However, at the start of the pandemic he clashed with Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon, who was also supported by the Mayor of London, Mr Khan, in a meeting on how and when to impose a lockdown.
As COVID-19 began to sweep across Europe in March 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron had a strained phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
According to reports in France, the French leader was “furious” and “lost his temper” as he urged Mr Johnson to “announce measures to fight the pandemic”.
Following this call, a COBRA meeting was held, although the Prime Minister was absent, with Mr. Gove chairing in his place.
As pointed out in ‘Failures of State’ by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott, a source present at the meeting was baffled by Mr Johnson’s absence.
They said, “I’m introducing myself and it’s Michael Gove chairing it, not Johnson. It was strange.
“To miss such a critical COBRA meeting, I just don’t understand why. It is the COBRA where we decided to put in place measures at the national level.
“It’s literally a five minute walk to the Cabinet Office.”
At the meeting, the main metric discussed was whether there were any nearby places where people congregate at night.
Mr Gove suggested closing the pubs next Saturday at lunchtime, but Scottish Premier Sturgeon and the Mayor of London Khan opposed this.
They came out “strongly” against the idea, adding that it could encourage people to embark on “one last disastrous Friday night frenzy.”
Both Mr Khan and Ms Sturgeon ranted at the Prime Minister during the pandemic.
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The mayor of London accused Mr Johnson of “lying yet again” about Transport for London (TfL) finances last week.
Mr Johnson accused the current Labor mayor of “wasting” TfL’s money on “an irresponsible tariff policy”.
The Prime Minister, himself a former mayor of London, said there was a ‘black hole’ in TfL’s finances before the COVID-19 pandemic and that he, as mayor, had left them ‘in a solid and good condition ”.
Mr Khan responded with fury, saying: ‘The PM lied again following a taxpayer-funded press conference of £ 2.6million.
“COVID-19 is the sole cause of TfL’s challenges. Before the pandemic, I was fixing his mess at TfL – reducing the deficit by 71% from what he left. ”
Last July Mrs Sturgeon got angry at Mr Johnson for saying “there is no border between England and Scotland”.
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Asked at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing about the comments, Ms Sturgeon said it was “such an absurd statement”, and added: “What there certainly is is a geographic boundary at my credentials as Prime Minister. “
She continued: ‘If the Prime Minister questions this now, I’m not sure what he would say if I got up to Newcastle and started trying to implement Scottish Government policies in Newcastle.
“And see what I just said over there?” It’s also absurd, which is why we shouldn’t be having these discussions.
“We should all focus with absolute laser-like focus on what we need to do within our own responsibilities and work together when necessary to stop a virus.”
Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain’s Battle with Coronavirus, by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott, was published by Mudlark in March. It is available here.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-14 13:55:10