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  1. ITV Report

Michael Gove becomes latest politician to flounder over figures

Former cabinet minister Michael Gove has become the latest senior politician to flounder while talking numbers during the election campaign.

Michael Gove

The Conservative candidate for Surrey Heath blundered when challenged to detail the annual levy imposed on firms hiring non-EU migrants, which his party is proposing to double from £1,000 to £2,000.

Mr Gove, a leading figure in the Leave campaign during last year's EU referendum, also struggled when asked for the number of non-EU migrants arriving in the UK.

He follows shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable, among others, who have endured a difficult time when attempting to recall figures.

Mr Gove, asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari to explain how much it would cost to employ someone not born in the UK, said:

I think at the moment the current figure is going to be doubled - I'm just looking at my notes here - I don't have the exact figure of what it costs at the moment.

– Michael Gove

Pressed on the figure, Mr Gove said: "I think it's £2,000 a year."

When Mr Ferrari questioned if the charge will increase to £4,000, Mr Gove replied: "I think that's right."

Later in the interview, Mr Ferrari asked for the migration figure of non-EU nationals in the last year.

Mr Gove noted: "It's over 200,000." Mr Ferrari replied: "No it's not, it's under." Mr Ferrari went on: "While we're doing sums, I have to tell you I understand the fee paid is £1,000, not £2,000."

Mr Gove said: "In which case, it's doubling to #2,000. I do beg your pardon."

Mr Ferrari countered: "Not very well prepared by your standards, Mr Gove."

The former education secretary replied: "Well, I didn't have a role in writing the manifesto. I'm here to outline the principles behind it and I think the principles are right."

Here are the other candidates standing in Surrey Heath:

  • Labour Party: Laween Atroshi
  • Lib Dems: Ann-Marie Barker
  • Green Party: Sharon Galliford