James Forsyth

Gove asks the British public to trust themselves

Gove asks the British public to trust themselves
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It was Michael Gove’s turn in the Sky hot-seat tonight and he came determined to make the democratic case for Brexit. In the initial exchanges, Faisal Islam went after Gove hard on the question of how many economists, international institutions and countries back Britain leaving the EU. Islam pushed Gove to name 11 economists who back Brexit, Gove declined to do so. Islam then asked Gove why the British public should trust him, to which Gove replied that he was asking the British public to trust themselves.

But the bigger challenge for Gove was always going to be dealing with the audience questions, which he is far less used to doing than David Cameron. Gove, though, handled them well, repeatedly going back to the democratic argument for leaving: that Britain would be better off ‘taking control’ of its own affairs. He asked the audience if any of them could name the five EU presidents, none of them could. He then pointed out that the great symbol of British democracy was the removal van arriving at Downing Street to take away a defeated Prime Minister, before pointing out that none of us can vote out the President of the European Commission.

The IN camp are arguing tonight that Gove can’t guarantee that no jobs will be lost and didn’t put flesh on the bones of what Out would look like, what the new trading arrangement would be and the like. But Vote Leave are delighted this evening. They think that Gove has got across the democratic case for leaving and emphasised the optimism of the Out camp against the pessimism of the IN side.

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