Covid Inquiry: Michael Gove's evidence reveals moments of clarity as ministers realised the scale of their failures

Michael Gove giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry (PA)Michael Gove giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry (PA)
Michael Gove giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry (PA)
Sorry seems to be the easiest word when it comes to the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest senior member of it to utter the word, in relation to their part in managing the crisis, being Michael Gove.

Giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry yesterday, Mr Gove interjected forcefully to take the opportunity to convey his sympathies to those who lost loved ones to the virus, whilst also explaining the regrets he has relating to the errors of judgement, dither and delay which we now know cost lives.

Politicians are fallible’ lamented Mr Gove, adding: ‘We make mistakes and we make errors’ as he acknowledged the pain felt by so many across the country, not least those left woefully exposed in care homes.

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It was, certainly for any member of this current crop of Conservative politicians in Government, a rare moment of what appeared to be sincere contrition with none of the usual bluster, obfuscation and downright lies on show.

And it was that apparent sincerity which helped the now Levelling Up secretary to articulate the quandaries faced by Cabinet members as the highly infectious disease placed decision-makers in zugzwang, the unenviable bind placed upon the opponent that means any move whatsoever coming next is one the will bring evermore jeopardy.

With so many lives already lost and no end in sight to the rising death toll, it is difficult to contemplate recreating the invidiousness of the task at hand for any government in walking the tightrope of preserving life and restricting rights and liberty.

Yet, as the evidence is heard, it is clear - not least evidenced by Mr Gove’s intemperate language - there were moments of clarity where key protagonaists in Government knew prefectly well that they were letting down the nation in the worst possibe way.