Michael Gove doles out the booze as Cabinet big hitters get stuck on the trains

Written by Total Politics on 24 July 2018 in Diary

At least ministers had a better day than the PM...

Cabinet away days can be a slog at the best of times - forcing ministers who'd rather be cracking on with the day job to trudge far from Westminster in a bid to show voters they're not all bubble-dwellers.

Spare a thought, then, for the batch of Cabinet big-hitters who found themselves stuck on a train back from Gateshead yesterday.

Wildfires on the tracks at least meant that Environment Secretary Michael Gove got the chance to get stuck into a good book, and one Twitter spy reports that he marked the occasion by "doling out wine to new friends" joining him in the plush first class seats (the train was apparently declassified, meaning a free-for-all on the top seats).


Poor old Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile, had to shelve a planned in-person appearance at a summit in London, although she bravely soldiered on and managed to give a speech via videolink... from the train carriage.

Justice Secretary David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox were also said to have been caught up in the delays - although Transport Secretary Chris Grayling seems to have gotten off lightly, avoiding easy headlines about the man responsible for Britain's railways being held up on them.

Still, at least things went a bit better for Theresa May's ministers than it did for her the PM herself. Addressing workers in Gateshead, the Tory chief managed to fire up the Maybot that was such a rip-roaring success during last year's election campaign and real off a less-than-convincing list of 'normal person' hobbies.



"I like walking," the PM said. "So my husband and I enjoy going walking, when we can. Taking holidays, walking.

"I enjoy cooking which has a benefit because you get to eat it as well as make it. I have over 150 cookbooks, so I spend quite a lot of time looking at cookbooks."

The real kicker came when she turned to ask the audience whether they knew "the American series NCIS?"

Cue an awkard silence before the PM added: "I quite like watching NCIS when I can."

Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile came under fire as it emerged his own Shadow Cabinet 'away day' involved an epic journey to the barren wastelands of, er, Westminster’s Smith’s Square.

Maybe it'd be better if everyone just stayed put next time...

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