The Chancellor of the Duchy and staunch Brexiteer, Michael Gove, has made a somewhat unorthodox claim that “only the almighty” knows what will happen to the UK after Brexit.
Appearing before the House of Commons select committee for leaving the European Union, Boris Johnson ally Gove was taken to task for the apparent lack of government preparation for the day after Britain departs the EU on October 31st.
Totally reassuring exchange in DExEU committee just now.— John Johnston (@johnjohnstonmi) 5 September 2019
Benn: "No one, including yourself, can know what is going to happen after 1st November?"
Gove: "Um....Er.......The future is known only to the Almighty."
Benn: "Well, he is not a witness before the committee today." pic.twitter.com/7eU4pvG09x
“No one, including your good self, can know what is going to happen after 1st November?” committee chairman and Labour MP Hilary Benn rhetorically asked Mr Gove.
In response, Mr Gove leant forward in his chair with his hands pressed together in what appeared to be a prayer gesture and answered, “um… Er… The future is known only to the almighty.”
Mr Benn, with a creeping smile on his face, answered “well, he is not a witness before the committee today.”
Responses on the Twittersphere came thick and fast.
Questionable theology from Mr Gove: the Almighty knows what can be known, which may not include future contingents. Mr Benn was right.— Laurence Target (@LtargetEsq) 5 September 2019
Funny or tragic?— Silvia Mora (@Forestia3) 5 September 2019
I do think it's heartwarming MPs can still have a little laugh about all this. I'm sure that puts a smile on the faces of the 1,000s of people who've already lost their jobs over Brexit & those who don't know if they're going to be deported even though they've made a life here.— Gary Smith (@cactuscounty) 5 September 2019
oh my heavens...— Kate Brundage (@katebrundage1) 5 September 2019
What a plonker....— Marco Marboni (@MMarboni) 5 September 2019
I'm glad they can all have a delightful little chuckle as Rome burns...— christian (@xiancjp) 5 September 2019
Mr Gove’s comments come amidst what many have noticed to be the creeping presence of religious and supernatural references in Western political discourse.
Recently, President Donald Trump claimed, while looking up to the skies, that he was the “chosen one” and had been given divine permission to continue his trade war with China. Similarly, Democratic presidential hopeful, Marianne Williamson said recently that “the power of the mind” could be employed in an effort to ward off Hurricane Dorian from the coasts of Florida.
Brexit has come no closer to a clear outcome over the past week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson currently finds himself politically "cornered" after the full spectrum of opposition parties, including Labour, the Scottish National Party and Tory rebels voted together in parliament to outlaw a no-deal Brexit.
Furthermore, Boris Johnson's hopes of bolstering his parliamentary majority by holding a general election - which could have seen him enforce a no-deal outcome - were also dashed when the majority of MPs voted against such a move this week. Yet, to the alarm of many, Mr Johnson has suggested that he may be willing to ignore any new law banning a no deal, reportedly writing in a letter to his senior cabinet members on the evening of September 7 that, "they just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do."