Michael Gove was left visibly shaken after he was quizzed on his government’s lack of support for victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The environment secretary was asked by Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan why more had not been done to help those whose lives were devastated by last week’s blaze.
Families who have lost their homes are being offered £500 in cash by the government and another £5,000 in their bank account by way of financial support.
Morgan said: “If you had lost your home, if it had been burned to ground with every one of your possessions and someone says ‘here’s five hundred quid’ and we are going to move you and your family to Birmingham, to Manchester, or further north, take it or leave it. You’d be outraged, wouldn’t you?”
Gove said he had visited the Grenfell Tower area on Sunday night to speak to friends who live close to the site and some of the families affected.
Becoming emotional, the newly-appointed cabinet minister added: “There is a local teacher having to teach children today in the knowledge that some of those he loved and cared for are still missing.
“Of course I am distraught. And I also think you’re right that people do not just need this money – they need reassurance that their lives are going to be put back together as quickly as possible.”
He repeated pledges by other ministers that the government would act swiftly to establish the cause of the blaze and take appropriate action.
Appearing on the BBC’s Today programme later in the morning, Gove praised the actions of those affected by the attack on a Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of Monday, describing the mosque imam as ‘an example to us all’.
He said: “This was a disgusting and repellent attack aimed specifically to try and divide communities. Words fail me in trying to encapsulate my sense of disgust.
“The reaction of those caught up in it, in particular I understand the imam, who displayed exemplary restraint and compassion. It seems as though the community, in their response, set an example to all of us of compassion and resilience in times of trial.”