Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove’s cat upstaged him on Monday, 27 April, when it miaowed loudly in the background as he took part in a remote hearing with the UK Parliament's Brexit Committee.
The moaning moggie triggered an avalanche of tweets on Twitter.
Okay, someone needs to name their band Michael Gove's Cat.— AvifaunaLux (@AvifaunaLux) April 27, 2020
Mr Gove told the Brexit Committee the government planned to publish in a “matter of weeks” the details of their trade position in the talks.
Michael Gove’s appearance at the Brexit Committee has been interrupted by a grumpy cat 😾 pic.twitter.com/J46U8CUOYD— Jon Stone (@joncstone) April 27, 2020
He said both sides would review the negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU at the end of June but said he was confident they would be able to conclude the negotiations “within the agreed timescale”.
Mr Gove agreed with the chair of the committee, Labour MP Hillary Benn, that the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier had been “downbeat” about the talks.
Was that Michael Gove’s cat that was audible on the Brexit Committee session being broadcast now on BBC News? Are we about to see the next instalment of best ever interruptions by a child/animal?!— Jennie Bradley (@jennierbradley) April 27, 2020
Referring to the UK government’s demand for a Canada-style trade agreement, Mr Gove said: “We are not asking for anything bespoke or tailor-made. We are asking for something off the peg. It should be quite rapid to secure.”
“The COVID crisis should concentrate the minds of European negotiators,” said Mr Gove.
Also appearing in front of the Brexit Committee today: a cat. Possibly @Number10cat ??— Matthew Thompson (@mattuthompson) April 27, 2020
Definite meowing in the background of Gove's evidence.
Mr Gove, who said it would cost "billions" to extend the transition period, confirmed that 47 civil servants had been moved from post-Brexit planning to COVID-19 work.
Mr Gove said the Northern Ireland protocol was part of the trade talks and he said they were conscious of the importance of preserving the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Benn pressed him on how Northern Ireland-based businesses should be planning for the post-transition period but Mr Gove said he did not want to “prejudice” those bodies working on the details.
Haha no time for Gove to give an update on the state of play, Sir Hilary straight in to ask what we're doing given everyone is preoccupied with COVID-19.— KeplerNiko (@keplerniko) April 27, 2020
Gove's cat yowls in the background.
Ulster-born SNP MP Philippa Whitford asked him about the EU opening a "mini embassy" in Belfast and Mr Gove said it was not a matter for the British government.
Sally Ann Hart, the Conservative MP for Hastings, asked Mr Gove if the UK government would have been able to give such a large economic stimulus to coronavirus-hit businesses if it had still been in the EU.
He said it was an "interesting and open question."