Michael Gove is being recalled by the Education Select Committee to answer claims that he misled Parliament in relation to claims of bullying by his staff. Special adviser Dominic Cummings and his hand-picked head of communications James Frayne were involved in a grievance case in which a member of staff was given a £25,000 settlement.
Appearing before the Committee in January, Gove said he was unaware of “previous allegations about SpAds acting inappropriately”:
“I am not omniscient, but I have seen no evidence of that.”
Gove then followed this up with a letter pre-empting MPs making further enquiries on this front — but according to LabourList, this simply “pissed off” the committee:
“While I cannot comment on individual employment matters, I can confirm that I have never been made aware of allegations by civil servants of inappropriate actions by special advisers.”
“It is not usual practice for ministers to be informed of individual grievances by members of staff, particularly if those grievances are not upheld.”
The issue of what Gove knew and when was at the heart of questions asked in Parliament by one of his former ministers — who has now turned against him. As Scrapbook reported yesterday, Tim Loughton tabled two written questions targeting Gove and Cummings.
This could get very messy.