Michael Gove has been criticised for “making jokes and using silly voices” when discussing the cost of living crisis.
Probed on the prospect of an emergency budget in a television interview earlier today, the levelling up secretary seemingly attempted both Scouse and American accents.
Mr Gove said the words “emergency budget” and “a major, capital letters, big news story” in what appeared to be an American accent.
He then said “calm down” in a Scouse accent, which has since been likened to comedian Harry Enfield’s sketch.
Politics Hub: Truss rejects EU proposal for Northern Ireland
“In fact, when the Treasury quite rightly say ‘calm down’, then people, instead of recognising that they’ve overinflated the story in the first place, then say ‘oh this is clearly a split’,” he told BBC Breakfast.
Households are currently facing rising energy bills, inflation is forecast to hit 10% and benefits and wages failing to keep up with the increase in prices.
Following his appearance, Labour’s Lisa Nandy tweeted: “What is he doing!?”
“Making jokes and using silly voices while families across the country are struggling to survive.
“This isn’t a game (or an Oxford Union debate!). People are having to choose between heating and eating.
“Take it seriously. Do your job.”
Boris Johnson’s spokesman was asked about the rather peculiar moment by reporters later on Wednesday.
“Michael Gove is an effective cabinet communicator who has a variety of means of getting the message across,” the PM’s spokesperson says.
Asked if Mr Gove does Scouse impressions during Cabinet meetings, the spokesman said: “Not in the ones I’ve been in.”
It is not the first time Mr Gove’s broadcast round has made the news for unexpected reasons.
Back in January, the Levelling Up secretary missed his interview slot on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme after getting stuck in a lift.
The cabinet minister was supposed to appear on the radio at 8.10am, but at that time was stuck in an elevator in the BBC’s Broadcasting House in central London which had stopped working.
Having been freed after half an hour, Mr Gove jokingly said staff had “successfully levelled me up” and released him.
Eventually making it onto the airwaves, the levelling up secretary said: “After more than half an hour in the lift, you successfully levelled me up, so I’m delighted to be here.”
Mr Gove also joked that the ordeal could give “ammunition” for scriptwriters of W1A – a mockumentary sitcom television series that satirises the management of the BBC.
Informed that a “free Michael Gove” hashtag was circulating on social media, Mr Gove said: “I suspect there were rather more people hoping I would be incarcerated for longer.”