MICHAEL Gove was provided with a £320,000 chauffeur-driven limousine to drive him around during the pandemic.
The Mirror reported documents showed the Communities Secretary was supplied with a Jaguar XJL saloon car and his own driver by a private “executive car service”
Usually only the most senior Cabinet ministers use cars outwith the Government Car Service’s (GCS) pool of vehicles. While Gove attended Cabinet as Cabinet Office Minister, previous ministers would have been expected to use the pool.
In Autumn 2020, The Mirror revealed that a three year contract worth £107,000 a year was provided to Gove, with the Cabinet Office refusing to say why a privately supplied car was provided.
The contract said: "Bookings for the service are made directly between the Minister’s Diary Secretary and the supplier’s driver via regular phone or text messages throughout the day. The type of journeys undertaken are typically short journeys across London. e.g. from the Minister’s home address to the Houses of Parliament."
It went on: "The Supplier’s driver will apply reasonable endeavours to safeguard the Minister during official journeys.
"This will include: driving to a safe location, as soon as possible, in the event of any untoward/unwanted attention from the public; [and] locking the vehicle’s doors to prevent them from being opened externally and ensuring all windows are closed, in the event of any untoward/unwanted attention from the public."
The Department for Transport (DfT) revealed in 2016 – the last publicly available data – that the cost of three cars provided to the Cabinet Office was £181,486 - around £60,000 per car, per year.
A Government spokesperson said: “Ministerial transportation can be provided from other suppliers, beyond the government car service. All contract processes have been followed and all contracts are published online as part of our commitment to transparency.”