Gove’s communications with hardline Brexiters remain off limits, watchdog rules

Environment secretary Michael Gove’s communications with the European Research Group (ERG), a backbench ‘hard’ Brexit lobby group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, do not need to be disclosed, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ruled.

A freedom of information request seeking the correspondences between Gove and the ERG was made following a tweet from Guido Fawkes in August 2018 saying that Gove had called on ERG members in a Whatsapp group to “calm down” about a French fisherman ramming British fishing boats.

The complainant argued that because Gove was a “subscriber” of ERG materials and meetings, communications between the two could influence DEFRA policies – including information sent in Whatsapp messages.

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