Gove grilled again on ‘bullying by advisers’

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Michael Gove will be called to give fresh evidence to MPs over allegations of bullying behaviour by key advisers, it was confirmed yesterday.

The Commons Education Select Committee said it had decided at a meeting earlier yesterday that the Education Secretary and the Department for Education’s permanent secretary Chris Wormald should be recalled.

The announcement comes weeks after Mr Gove wrote to the cross-party group of MPs to insist he had “never been made aware” of bullying allegations, following Labour claims that he may have misled Parliament.

No date has been set as yet for the new evidence session, the committee said.

Last month, Mr Gove was asked if he was aware of allegations of special advisers “acting inappropriately to civil servants” in his department, Mr Gove replied: “No”.

Labour, however, suggested he must have known about an internal grievance procedure about two individuals – details of which emerged at the weekend.

It said he appeared either to have misled Parliament – in breach of the ministerial code – or have “no control” over the actions of his advisers.

The influential select committee then agreed to write to Mr Gove seeking clarification of his evidence.

In a pre-emptive response, Mr Gove wrote to its chair, Tory MP Graham Stuart, “to confirm my answers to your questions of January 23”.

“While I cannot comment on individual employment matters, I can confirm that I have never been made aware of allegations by civil servants of inappropriate actions by special advisers,” he wrote.

“It is not usual practice for Ministers to be informed of individual grievances by members of staff, particularly if those grievances were not upheld.

“As such I remain confident that my evidence to the committee was correct.”