Michael Gove refuses to deny Brexit Party allegations of peerages for votes

Michael Gove on Sky News. Picture: Sky

Michael Gove on Sky News. Picture: Sky - Credit: Archant

Michael Gove has claimed that allegations members of the Brexit Party were offered peerages to stand aside were 'nonsensical' but did not rule it out altogether.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, government minister Gove was responding to claims from Lord Falconer that the Conservatives may be going "beyond electoral law" to win the election.

He said: "I've got great respect for Charlie Falconer but I think that this sounds pretty nonsensical to me.

"The only pact of which I'm aware, the only arrangement of which I'm aware, is the one whereby Jeremy Corbyn has said he would assent to Nicola Sturgeon's plans for a referendum on Scottish independence."

Asked about Ann Widdecombe's claim that she was offered a role in the next round of Brexit negotiations to stand down, Gove said: "I haven't spoken to Ann and I don't know anyone who has spoken to Ann for months now."

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Gove said he is "not aware" that any conversations about future involvement Brexit talks have contained discussions about the offers of jobs and peerages.

He continued: "This is the first I've heard about it and of course I think it's only right that things that people like Ann say are considered appropriately.

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"But I say something else, one of the things that we spelt out during the attempt to get the EU Withdrawal Bill through is that when we move on to the next stage of our relationship with the European Union, we'll be consulting people from all parties."

On if it is possible that conversations about involvement in talks have "in broad terms" discussed the offer of jobs or peerages, Mr Gove added: "Not that I'm aware of at all."

But he added that "all sorts of things might have happened of which I might not be aware."

Andrew Gwynne, Labour's co-national campaign co-ordinator, attacked the comments from the Cabinet Office minister.

"For Michael Gove to fail to deny that the government has used jobs and peerages to pressure candidates from another party to not stand in an election is shocking.

"These are serious allegations of a peerages for votes scandal by the Conservative Party that must be fully investigated.

"A secret Trump alliance between the Brexit Party and the Conservatives risks opening up our health service to American pharmaceutical companies to force up drugs prices and drain £500 million a week from the NHS."

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