Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Gove 'assiduous' in lobby loo visit

Michael Gove found himself trapped in the Labour lobby loo in his first day as chief whip
Michael Gove found himself trapped in the Labour lobby loo in his first day as chief whip

Michael Gove was performing his new duties as chief whip "very assiduously" when he found himself trapped in the Labour lobby loo, William Hague has joked.

Making his full debut as the new Leader of the House, Mr Hague laughed off criticisms of Mr Gove on his first day after Labour sprung a surprise vote on a 10 minute rule motion.

Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle suggested Mr Gove had almost broken his own whip by getting locked in the bathroom during the division on Alison McGovern's Bill yesterday. Labour won the vote after Government MPs did not take part in the stunt.

She said: "I'd like to welcome Mr Gove... he hasn't had the most auspicious of starts. Yesterday, he not only lost his first vote but he managed to get stuck in the toilet in the wrong lobby and he nearly broke his own whip.

"We know all about the former education secretary's love of free schools. Independent of any central authority - I wonder if he is keen to allow the emergence of lots of free Tory MPs who don't have to submit to his authority."

Referencing Game of Thrones, Ms Eagle added: "Apparently when the Prime Minister asked the chief whip to take up his new role, he asked him to become the 'Hand of the King'.

"Now, I'm no Game of Throne expert but isn't it the case that so far the Hands of the King have been variously beheaded, knived and shot with a harpoon - and all by their own side?"

Mr Hague replied: "You made fun of what he was doing yesterday - knowledge of who is in the toilets in whatever lobby is a very important piece of information for any chief whip.

"I take this as evidence he was carrying out his duties very assiduously."

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