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Michael Gove admits to nerves as he pitches Brexit to TV audience

Published 02/06/2016

Michael Gove
Michael Gove

Michael Gove has admitted he is "nervous" ahead of his chance to address the nation and "allay people's fears" about Brexit.

David Cameron faced questions from journalists and members of the public on Sky News on Thursday evening as he sought to make the case for the UK to remain in the EU.

And it will be the Justice Secretary's turn to be grilled on Friday night when he seeks to sway viewers to back a leave vote.

Speaking ahead of his appearance, Mr Gove said: "I'm quite nervous about tomorrow because I've never done anything like this before but the main thing is I have been chosen to make sure that people have a chance to hear the Vote Leave message, so the main thing that I want do is to try to get across the essence of our case.

"And of course Faisal Islam is a tough interrogator and I'm sure that he will challenge me to make the case as to how life will be a bit different and better if we were outside the European Union, and I'm sure there will be some worries from members of the audience about what leaving might mean.

"I hope to be able to paint a positive picture of life outside and allay people's fears."

Mr Cameron has avoided appearing alongside Tories who back Brexit during the referendum campaign.

But Mr Gove said he is not frustrated that he is not going head-to-head with the Prime Minister, saying the format was chosen by the broadcaster and that he is "very happy to make the case in this way".

When asked what he will try to avoid during his televised appearance, he said: "I think falling over as I arrive or leave would be a bit of a no-no. And cracking up in the middle of one of my own answers."

He also said he will be seeking to avoid imitating Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, who almost fell off a stage at a televised event prior to the last general election.

"I remember Ed Miliband falling off the stage, which is why it was in my mind," he said.

"But that's the BBC Question Time format, this is a slightly different one."

Mr Gove also downplayed the potential impact of the event.

He said: "I think that they are important because they are an opportunity to make the argument, but I think that when we had the first debates in a general election in 2010 a lot of attention was put on them, but in the end I think the debates - while they were interesting and I am sure helped some people make up their minds - weren't game changing.

"So I don't think these debates will be game-changing, but I do think that they are an important part of giving people the information they need in order to make up their mind fairly."

The Justice Secretary said he will be wearing a tie to the event, but when asked if it will be a lucky one, he said: "No - most of my ties are very unlucky."

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