The extraordinary treacherous act by Michael Gove in ditching Cameron and then dumping Boris Johnson to try to be Prime Minister has obscured another damning trait in this discredited Tory star.
While the sound and fury surrounding the Referendum campaign dominated the headlines Whitehall quietly produced a damning finding which questions the competence of Michael Gove to stand for high office anywhere.
Before he moved to the Ministry of Justice, where he undid some of the nasty work of Chris Grayling, Gove was secretary of state for education.
In the run up to the Campaign Whitehall belatedly published the Whole Government Accounts – an international accounting standard record of every pound spent of taxpayer’s money and the value of the assets held by the British government.
This report was late because of the failure of one Cabinet minister – Michael Gove – to be able to account for a staggering £33 billion -yes billion- of public money and assets while he was in office. That’s equivalent to half the education budget or THREE years of our contributions to the European Union.
As the findings by the National Audit Office says in Whitehall officialese:
“The 2014-15 Department for Education (DfE) accounts were qualified on the basis of incomplete and inaccurate valuation of academies’ land and buildings assets.
“ In 2014-15, the number of academies continued to increase from 3,905 to 4,580, but the DfE has not addressed the difficulty in maintaining oversight over them. As a result the scope of this issue has grown to £33 billion during the year and is likely to continue to be a source of continued qualification within the Whole Government accounts (WGA ) until there are changes in the oversight and accountability regime for academies. “
The findings means the department has no accurate record of the billions of pounds of school buildings and property they have handed over to private academies and free schools in the rush to create so many academies. The man who rushed through this in such a cavalier fashion was Michael Gove.
Whoever is the next Prime Minister is going to have a head for figures to negotiate one of the most complex series of deals to disentangle ourselves from the EU and be responsible for signing off tens of billions of pounds of complex trade deals across the world.
If Michael Gove gets to Number Ten job it would be like handing over the running of the country to a reckless irresponsible teenager who ran up huge debts on his parent’s credit card but couldn’t properly account for what he had done.
Gove obviously has no responsibility, interest or understanding of how to control our money. He is entitled to his ideological commitment to creating academies but in his enthusiasm for this controversial policy he is leaving a trail of muddle and mess in his wake. In my view this makes him totally unsuitable to hold this top job. This of all times is no place for incompetents.