The PM earned more than £2.2 million in the last financial year, but paid £508,308 in tax – a rate of less than 23%.
On his show Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, he asked: “Is it helpful to your cause that we found out this week that the prime minister paid a headline rate of 23% on his £2.2 million earnings last year, less proportionately than a nurse pays.
“The optics are pretty awful, aren’t they?”
Gove said an individual’s tax affairs are a matter for them, and it’s “invidious” to look at individual cases.
Phillips pointed out that Sunak published it himself, “he asked us to look at it”.
Gove just said his own view is that the tax policies of the government are more important than any individual’s tax returns.
The PM famously listed five priorities for his first full year in No.10 in January 2023.
This included halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing national debt, bringing down NHS waiting lists, and stopping the small boats.
But he has only achieved one of those five promises so far – bringing inflation down to 4%.
So Phillips asked Gove: “Do you personally wish that he had never hung this five-headed albatross around your neck?”
“No,” Gove said, suggesting that the Tories were still making progress on their other pledges.
But Phillips hit back: “You’re going to fail.”
Gove deflected to talk about industrial action, but the Sky News presenter said: “Are you seriously blaming the junior doctors for the extra 400,000 on the waiting lists?”
Gove said he had sympathy for junior doctors but said anyone withdrawing their labour at the “sharp end” of the health service would have a knock-on effect.
Phillips then moved onto a “shadow promise” the Tories have been making, a promise to cut taxes – after taking the tax burden to a 70-year high.
“The truth is the tax burden is higher than ever,” he said.
Gove said taxes have gone up around the globe, adding: “Of course it’s the case the tax burden has reflected a, the huge cost of Covid, lockdown, furlough.”
Phillips then pointed out that the Tories are polling just above 10% among voters between 25 to 49-year-olds.
The Sky News presenter said: “How are you going to feel when you look back 20 years from now and realise you were the housing secretary who lost not just one but two generations for the Tories?”
“You’ve been in power for 14 years and you haven’t built the houses, you’re losing support,” he added.
Gove just said they’ve built 2.5 million new homes in that time, and that more homes would be built soon.