Michael Gove says Dominic Cummings is valued in government for his ‘blistering honesty’

PUBLISHED: 10:38 04 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:47 04 July 2020

Michael Gove leaves Number 10 Downing Street. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Michael Gove leaves Number 10 Downing Street. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

2019 Getty Images

Michael Gove has said the man who drove to Barnard Castle in the middle of lockdown to ‘test his eyesight’ is valued by the government for his ‘blistering honesty’.

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Gove, who worked with Dominic Cummings at the Department for Education under past prime ministers, praised Boris Johnson’s adviser for his ‘real originality’ when developing policy.

He told former Tory politician Michael Portillo on the Times Radio: “Dominic has many, many skills but there are two skills that he particularly has - blistering honesty and a real originality which are very precious.

“There is a tendency in politics to emulsify the discourse, to honey the words, to allow people sometimes to draw the wrong inference.

“That’s never the case with Dom. He is blunt to the Prime Minister and to me and to others, not disrespectful, but honest, and that is helpful.”


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Gove admitted that the politician is not always right, but he said that he was an “original” thinker, who “recognises the value of having a dissident voice in the room”.

“There are some in politics who prefer every meeting to essentially be a chorus of approval. The thing with Dom is that he does want to hear the discordant note. He is the Schoenberg of policy composition. And that I think is a good thing.”

He continued: “Those who work with Dom would say, he is a professional. He is courteous to those who are working hard and who are committed, but I think there’s a difference between what politicians should learn and what advisers should do.

“The great thing about Dom is that he’s not a public facing figure. He doesn’t particularly seek or want attention. He just wants to make things work and he’s prepared to be direct and in challenging those things he thinks don’t work.”

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