The Conservative Cabinet minister Michael Gove was forced to make a delayed appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning after being trapped in a lift for half an hour.
The communities and levelling up secretary became stuck in the lift at BBC Broadcasting House shortly before a scheduled interview with presenter Nick Robinson.
“We were hoping to talk to Michael Gove. You might have been hoping to hear from Michael Gove,” Robinson told listeners just after Gove’s scheduled appearance at 8.10am.
“He’s very kindly come in to the building so we didn’t have to deal with one of those awkward line failures. Mr Gove is stuck in the Broadcasting House lift. I wish I could say this is a joke. It’s not a joke and it’s not very funny for Mr Gove and the security men, who have been stuck there for some time.
“But he’s keeping cheerful, and even offered at one stage to talk to us on the phone. But I think we will try and get Mr Gove released from the Broadcasting House lift, and we hope to hear from him a little bit later in the programme.”
Gove eventually appeared some 10 minutes later and quipped: “After more than half an hour in the lift, you successfully levelled me up.”
The minister insisted that “these sorts of things happen”, but later told LBC he had personally texted BBC Chair Richard Sharp in a bid to be freed from the lift.
“I’m talking to you from BBC New Broadcasting House but in a scene, perhaps, I think more appropriate for The Thick Of It or W1A, I was trapped in a BBC lift for half an hour between 7.45 and 8.15,” he said, per The Guardian.
“But, thanks to the good offices of the Today programme, and also thanks to my texting the BBC chairman, I was liberated.
“He made sure that a crack engineering team were dispatched. As someone pointed out, even though we had to wait half an hour, eventually I was levelled up.”
Gove was on the media round this morning to discuss a new £4bn package to ensure that leaseholders avoid hefty bills when it comes to replacing combustible cladding.
He will tell parliament that people living in tower blocks between 11 meters and 18 meters tall will no longer face huge sums to replace the cladding.
A BBC spokesman said: “We’re sorry Mr Gove was stuck in one of our lifts, but we’re glad he was later able to take part in the interview.”