Belfast Telegraph

PM hopeful Gove 'out of touch' with Northern Ireland after calling Karen Bradley 'brilliant' says Hoey

Kate Hoey has criticised comments from Michael Gove on Karen Bradley.
Kate Hoey has criticised comments from Michael Gove on Karen Bradley.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Labour MP Kate Hoey has accused Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove of being "out of touch" with Northern Ireland after he said Karen Bradley is a "brilliant" Secretary of State.

Environment Secretary Gove was speaking as he announced his Tory leadership campaign on Monday.

If successful he will replace Theresa May as party leader and Prime Minister when she departs Downing Street next month.

Asked on his potential approach to Northern Ireland Mr Gove said he would want to lead talks aimed to restore power-sharing at Stormont alongside the "brilliant" Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

There has been speculation about the future of Mrs Bradley, with the new Prime Minister likely to choose their own cabinet upon taking office.

In response to Mr Gove's comments, Northern Ireland-born MP Kate Hoey said his comments on Mrs Bradley would not help him curry favour in the province.

"This is not going to gain Gove any support from any party or any political leader or practically any person in Northern Ireland," Mrs Hoey wrote on Twitter.

"Am afraid it makes him seem very out of touch with opinion in NI about the current Secretary of State."

Mrs Bradley has come in for criticism on a number of occasions since taking office in January 2018.

In September last year she admitted in an interview with House magazine that she had not fully understood politics in Northern Ireland before becoming Secretary of State.

"I didn't understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa," she said.

Mrs Bradley faced calls from victims families to resign in March after saying in the House of Commons that Troubles killings by members of the security forces were "not crimes".

She later said that any evidence of wrongdoing should always be invesitgated.

The Secretary was also accused of using victims of historical institutional abuse as "political pawns" when she suggested compensation should become part of party talks at Stormont.

Mr Gove is one of 11 candidates vying to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister

He has had been considered one of the front-runners until his campaign took a hit when he admitted using the class A drug cocaine during his career as a journalist.  

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