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Michael Gove Given "Public Bollocking" By David Cameron After Playing Beyoncé In A Cabinet Meeting

The chief whip accidentally interrupted a cabinet meeting by playing the singer's latest music. The prime minister was not impressed.

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Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Michael Gove and Beyoncé, united by a common love of music.

Michael Gove was given a "public bollocking" by David Cameron after he interrupted a cabinet meeting by playing Beyoncé.

Gove, a former education secretary who now serves as chief whip, was attending the government's most important weekly meeting when he accidentally started playing the star's latest song during a policy discussion.

According to The Times, which first reported the story, the prime minister believed it was Gove's ringtone and gave him a "public bollocking". He told the chief whip "in clipped tones" to deal with the music immediately, and reminded him that it is a breach of protocol to bring mobile phones into cabinet.

However, Gove was forced to fumble "for quite a while" before he could turn off the noise.

At the time, fellow attendees at the cabinet meetings described Gove's choice of music as either "Jazz FM-style comedown music after a heavy night out" or a "female ballad". The man himself refused to comment on the choice of music, insisting it was a private joke.

Gove's wife, Sarah Vine, has now revealed in her Daily Mail column that the politician was actually struggling to use his newly acquired Pebble smartwatch, and that the song he played to the meeting of the UK's leading politicians was by Beyoncé.

"The trouble is that [the watch] takes a bit of getting used to," she wrote. "For if you press the wrong button, things can go disastrously wrong. "

As a result, Gove interrupted a discussion involving George Osborne's economic plans by playing music from the singer's latest album.

Vine continued: "And so it was that just as the chancellor of the exchequer was explaining a particularly complex piece of fiscal policy to Her Majesty's assembled Cabinet, my husband (the government chief whip, Michael Gove) mistakenly instructed his watch to play Beyoncé's latest oeuvre. Try as he might, he simply could not silence her warblings. The more buttons he pressed, the more effusive she got."

BuzzFeed News believes the Beyoncé songs that best fit the description of Gove's favourite song are "Drunk in Love" or "XO". It was not possible to fact-check this assumption.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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