View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Middle East
3 September 2013updated 27 Sep 2015 5:33am

Gove attacks Labour MPs for “celebrating as children had been killed”

The Education Secretary explains his "heated" response to last week's parliamentary defeat on Syria.

By George Eaton

Of all those MPs dismayed at the outcome of last Thursday’s parliamentary vote on Syria, it was Michael Gove who reacted most vehemently. The Education Secretary shouted, “A disgrace, you’re a disgrace!”, at Conservative and Lib Dem rebels and reportedly told shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy: “you are appeasing Assad” (prompting the alleged retort: “Fuck off you bully. You’re angry because you lost.”)

At the weekend, Labour MP Dai Havard said that Gove called him a “National Socialist” prompting him to tell his party’s whips: “Michael Gove just called me a National Socialist. Tell him if he does it again I’ll deck him.” Tory MP Gavin Barwell, a parliamentary aide to Gove, who witnessed the row, responded by saying there had been a “misunderstanding”. 

Michael was calling Assad a National Socialist. Dai was still angry later on when I talked to him in the Members’ Smoking Room to try to sort it out. We ended up having a civilised conversation about whether or not Assad was a National Socialist.”

In his first comments on the incidents, Gove told BBC Breakfast this morning: 

I did become heated last week, that is absolutely right. At the moment that the government lost the vote on the motion, there were Labour MPs cheering as though it were a sort of football match and they had just won.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

At the same time on the news, we were hearing about an attack on a school in Syria and the death toll there rising – and the incongruity of Labour MPs celebrating as children had been killed by a ruthless dictator, I am afraid got to me and I did feel incredibly emotional. I do feel emotional about this subject.

The prime minister explained about the vote and that is all I want to say.

Gove’s comments are inevitably being misconstrued (he did not suggest that Labour MPs were cheering the deaths of Syrian children, rather that their cheers coincided with further massacres) and on one point he is certainly right. However they voted on Thursday night, MPs should have been sober in their response. In choosing whether or not to take military action in Syria (this week’s NS leader put the case against intervention), no one should forget that we are choosing between a bad outcome and an even worse one. 

Content from our partners
Inside the UK's enduring love for chocolate
Unlocking the potential of a national asset, St Pancras International
Time for Labour to turn the tide on children’s health

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU