Michael Gove apologises to bereaved families for government mistakes during Covid

28 November 2023, 10:41 | Updated: 28 November 2023, 11:27

Michael Gove giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry
Michael Gove giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry. Picture: Getty

By StephenRigley

Michael Gove has apologised to bereaved families over Government mistakes during Covid. 

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Gove told the Inquiry the Government’s decision making process was floored as the pandemic emerged.

He said: “I want to take this opportunity, if I may, my Lady to apologise to the victims who endured similar pain, the families who endured so much loss as a result of the mistakes that were made by Government in response to the pandemic, and as a minister responsible for the Cabinet Office and who was also close to many of the decisions that were made, I must take my share of responsibility for that.

"Politicians are human beings, we're fallible, we make mistakes and we make errors... But I also want to stress that I - and those with whom I worked - were also seeking at every point, in circumstances where every decision was difficult and every course was was bad, to make those."

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove, formerly the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, arrives to give evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove, formerly the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, arrives to give evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Sadiq Khan tells Covid Inquiry 'lives could have been saved' had he been invited to Cobra meetings earlier

Read More: UK government was 'too late' to act in first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chris Whitty admits

Mr Gove was chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Cabinet Office throughout the pandemic.

During the pandemic, Mr Gove chaired meetings of the Covid O (Covid Operations) committee, which made key decisions on lockdown restrictions.

The Tory Cabinet minister said the Government was not effective in responding to crises because of its "flawed" structure. He compared the Cabinet Office to "Mary Poppins' bag" where Prime Minister's dump difficult issues.

Mr Gove, now the Levelling Up Secretary, said he was charged by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson with leading ‘no deal’ Brexit planning before being given the task of intergovernmental relations.

The Inquiry has already heard damning evidence that the Cabinet Office in early 2020 was “dysfunctional” and “chaotic”, and ill-prepared for coping with the coming crisis.

“There has been a tendency among successive Prime Ministers to shove into the Cabinet Office responsibilities that do not appear to fit conveniently or easily elsewhere”, said Mr Gove.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Breaking News

Police officer stabbed in the chest during visit to HMP Frankland

Police investigating rioting in the Harehills area of Leeds have made a total of 20 arrests

Twenty people arrested after terrifying Leeds riot which saw bus set on fire and police car flipped over

Ligh-Anne Pinnock's niece, 13, is missing

Urgent search launched for Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s missing 13-year-old niece

Abdul Ezedi died by suicide, a coroner has ruled

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi drowned himself hours after assaulting partner and two girls, inquest finds

Exclusive
Suella Braverman has said she would vote for Donald Trump if she was a US citizen, claiming "the world will be safer" if the Republican presidential hopeful wins the November election.

Sullea Braverman reveals she would vote for Trump if she were American because 'the world would be safer'

Exclusive
Suella Braverman.

Suella Braverman slams Labour scrapping the Rwanda plan claiming it signals the UK is 'open' to illegal migration

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has been found guilty of directing a terrorist organisation

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary found guilty of directing terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun

Zara McDermott opened up about the "extremely distressing" events that occurred behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing.

'The line should never be crossed': BBC boss apologises for Strictly Come Dancing abuse controversy

Italy Walkway Collapse

Walkway collapses in Italy housing project, killing two and injuring a dozen

Up to five professionals could face the axe on next year’s Strictly Come Dancing

Long-serving strictly stars could face cull following scandals around alleged abusive behaviour

A man has been left fighting for life after being attacked at Seven Sisters

Man fights for life after stabbing at London Underground station - as two women arrested

The girl's mum, dad, and two little sisters died in the crash along with a motorbike rider and pillion passenger

Orphaned girl, 11, to live with aunt after losing whole family in horror car crash - as fundraiser passes £260,000

Tributes have been paid to Harry Savage after the reality TV star was found dead

Tributes pour in for Harry Savage after reality TV star found dead in home

Three men in suits

Hamas and Fatah sign deal to end years-long rift after talks in China

Crowd of people on a hillside

Death toll in Ethiopia mudslides rises to 157 as search operations continue

The bodycam footage of a black woman getting shot by a white police officer has been released

Shocking bodycam footage shows police shooting black woman dead in her home after she rang 911