How Nick Clegg stopped talking to Michael Gove (and his 'unhinged' advisers)

Written by David Singleton on 5 September 2016 in Diary

Did the former Lib Dem leader get on with any Tory ministers in the coalition years?

Having already revealed his beef with the former prime minister, chancellor and home secretary, now Nick Clegg has revealed his worst Tory enemy.

It seems that Clegg’s relationship with Michael Gove became so fractious during the last government that the two men stopped speaking.

The former deputy prime minister writes in his memoirs that he even told David Cameron that he was not prepared to “waste [his] time working with Michael Gove”

Clegg’s memoirs, called Politics: Between the Extremes, are being serialised in the Guardian.

He writes: “Our relationship had soured to the point that he banned Lib Dem special advisers from physically entering the Department for Education, hid on one occasion in the toilet to avoid speaking to David Laws, and let loose his somewhat unhinged advisers to brief against me, and even against Miriam, in the press.

“On one of the last occasions I spoke to him in government, I asked him to come and see me in my office. He was keen to be accompanied by his assistant, but I insisted we meet alone, as I wanted to deliver a blunt message.

“Once we were alone, I asked him how he would react if someone on my behalf wilfully lied about his wife in the newspapers?”

In a recent interview with The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone, Clegg hit out at Cameron and George Osborne. He told The Guardian that one of them – “I honestly can’t remember whom” – told him: “I don’t understand why you keep going on about the need for more social housing – it just creates Labour voters.”

Clegg added: “They genuinely saw housing as a Petri dish for voters. It was unbelievable.”

He has also claimed that May he tried to manipulate a Home Office report on immigration that was part of a cross-government exercise into the costs and benefits of EU membership.




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