Gove defends short-hop limo trips

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Tory Chief Whip Michael Gove has rejected criticism that he is wasting taxpayers’ money by using his official government car for journeys of a few hundred yards.

The Daily Mirror said Mr Gove used the chauffeur-driven Jaguar to shuttle the short distance between his office in Downing Street and the House of Commons.

But a spokesman for Mr Gove said that he was simply following “standard Cabinet Office protocol” for ministers when they are carrying sensitive official papers.

“This is a total non-story. As Chief Whip, Michael Gove carries sensitive papers and the rules are these have to be transported securely,” the spokesman said.

“Government cars often make short journeys like this to transport papers even if there is no minister in them. The Chief Whip has followed the standard Cabinet Office protocol and will continue to do so.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “On each of these occasions, the car contained highly-classified papers which had to be transported from Downing Street to the House of Commons.

“The ministerial code is clear that official cars can be used to transport classified documents which must be handled securely.

“Therefore, these journeys had to be made regardless of whether the Chief Whip was in the car himself.”

Labour MP Grahame Morris told the Mirror: “The Tories preach austerity while wasting taxpayers’ cash. Seeing Michael Gove use his chauffeur-driven car, even if he’s only going down the road, shows they revel in the trappings of office while others struggle to make ends meet.”

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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