Michael Gove branded "idealogue" over Covid tier restrictions by senior columnist

1 December 2020, 10:55 | Updated: 1 December 2020, 11:01

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A senior columnist has labeled Michael Gove an "ideologue" over his support for tough three-tier restrictions.

Stephen Glover told LBC the Cabinet Office minister and top Boris Johnson ally "doesn't actually provide any good answers" for people concerned about the new post-lockdown measures.

The journalist echoed the worries of dozens of Conservative MPs who are set to vote against or abstain on the system on Tuesday afternoon - including that many areas placed into Tier 3 have significantly lower infection rates than the national average.

"He just goes on saying the same thing about hospitals beds and so forth and he will not address the question," Mr Glover said.

"He has turned into a kind of ideologue who just repeats the same old stuff."

Press by Nick Ferrari over the pressure the pandemic is having on health services, he conceded that the NHS was at risk of "tipping over the edge" during the first wave of the pandemic.

But Mr Glover argued that hospitals are far more ready and able to cope with the number of Covid-19 patients.

"I think it was close-ish in some parts of the country," he said, "I think in April things were very much worse than they are now."

"But we're coming out of the second lockdown and infection rates are dropping, and it's pretty clear that in most parts of the country hospital beds are not under very great pressure," he added.

The writer expressed disappointment in Mr Gove for "deserting" his libertarian principles around personal freedoms - referring to his scathing column on Monday which compared the minister to Mikhael Suslov - the chief ideologue of the Soviet Union's Communist Party for thirty years.

"As I said, jokingly but not entirely jokingly, he has turned into a kind of Michael Suslov," he said.

"Of course I exaggerate - he's not that bad - but he has turned into somebody unlike himself and pursuing arguments which if he were to just step back a little and listen to them and think about them, he wouldn't perhaps in his heart agree with."