George Monbiot is warned about ‘shrewd operator’ Michael Gove
Is the environment secretary really as green as he suddenly seems?
"This is amazing. One by one, Michael Gove is saying the things I’ve waited years for an environment secretary to say."
So tweeted the renowned environmental campaigner and journalist George Monbiot earlier this week, after Gove condemned farmers who "drench" their fields in chemicals and damage soil fertility.
Today, The Times reports that other initiatives have also given green campaigners cause for cheer. It points to the environment secretary’s crackdown on sales of ivory, his plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and his interest in a deposit scheme for drinks bottles and cans.
Apparently "the green movement is celebrating because they have come to believe that they have an ally at the heart of government".
It is all a far cry from June, when campaigners were queueing up to express their dismay at Gove getting the job of environment secretary. But not everyone is convinced by the top Tory MP's conversion to the green cause.
National Farmers’ Union president Meurig Raymond said the cabinet minister had also been making promises to farmers and warned: "Mr Gove might be trying to appease some of the green alliance. I guess he’s still highly ambitious within the Conservative Party and he’s obviously got to make a mark."
And Badger Trust chief executive Dominic Dyer said: "There is a danger that the green movement are being taken in by him…. He’s saying one thing but maybe meaning another. He’s a shrewd operator."
Where could they have got such ideas about the man who is most famous for stabbing Boris Johnson in the back?