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Michael Gove defends ‘salty intervention’ after middle finger social media dig at Labour | Politics News


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Michael Gove has defended as a “salty intervention” a Conservative Party social media post that attacked Labour using an image of a BBC News presenter making a rude sign on camera.

The levelling up and communities secretary said it was “a powerful contribution to a very lively debate”, which pointed out the opposition had “nothing to say on the question of illegal migration”.

Maryam Moshiri apologised after she mistakenly gave the middle finger while live on air as a BBC news bulletin began on Wednesday.

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The Tories’ social media team leapt on the viral image to go on the offensive, amid Conservative infighting over the Rwanda asylum plan.

They posted the picture on X, formerly Twitter, with the words: “Labour when you ask for their plans to tackle illegal migration.”

But the post faced a backlash, with Tory MPs among those calling for it to be taken down.

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Pressed for his view on Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Mr Gove said: “It’s certainly a salty intervention in public debate.

“But I think the important thing to bear in mind is that our political conversation takes place in a variety of different ways, on different platforms, and it’s important both to engage people where they are but also a very powerful point is made… that Labour have nothing to say on the question of illegal migration.

“I think that anyone who has ever looked at my social media will see that I am no social media ninja. My social media is herbivorous, to put it mildly.

“But on social media you have a lively debate and that is a powerful contribution to a very lively debate.”

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One of those to criticise the post was senior Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, who wrote: “Amazed this has not – despite requests – been taken down, it is beneath us.”

Her Conservative colleague Tobias Ellwood also said: “Please delete this post.”

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