As Gove's dance moves give us a laugh, there's a lesson for all MPs

As Gove's dance moves give us a laugh, there's a lesson for all MPs

August 30, 2021

Strictly Gove dancing! As Tory MP’s club dance moves give Britain a laugh, there’s a lesson here for all politicians, writes ANDREW PIERCE, the glitterball groover who has boogied with him

When Theresa May lumbered on stage at the 2018 Tory conference, trying to dance to Abba, Michael Gove and I agreed: the result was excruciating.

May had been persuaded to perform, mercifully only briefly, after she had been lampooned for her cringeworthy moves with a group of schoolchildren on the first day of a trade mission in Africa. 

Michael and I agreed that politicians should never be seen dancing in public (unless, of course, they can moonwalk like Michael Jackson).

That conversation feels like aeons ago. Yet I was forcefully reminded of it with the emergence, at the weekend, of a video of Michael taking to the dancefloor himself. 

Social media was soon abuzz after the clip of him dancing with wild abandon at an Aberdeen nightclub went viral.

While most verdicts were of the ‘my eyes!’ variety, some kindly said that here was a man just letting what was left of his hair down — and what was wrong with that? 

Michael Gove was seen dancing the night away at a Scottish nightclub on Saturday, much to the surprise of fellow revellers

If nothing else, Michael certainly looks to be enjoying himself.

But if I were talking to him now, I’d ask, how could you make the same mistake as Theresa? 

Especially now. With food shortages in supermarkets, the pandemic and the tragic situation in Afghanistan, he must know his every move as a Cabinet minister will be scrutinised.

He must also realise he is a truly terrible dancer. I know how bad he is from personal experience. 

We were at a mutual friend’s house for a 50th birthday party a few years ago when Michael decided to unleash his inner Lionel Blair, joining me on the dancefloor for Abba’s Dancing Queen — yes, the same hit Mrs May assassinated.

I’ll never forget it. Palms lifted heavenward, arms jutting up and down like pistons, Michael thrust his crotch back and forth. 

His arms and legs were soon flailing and he appeared to be punching imaginary flies. 

His face wore a maniacal grin. I thought: ‘My God, he’s auditioning for a job in the Department of Twerk and Pensions’.

The 54-year-old Tory, who recently announced he is to divorce from wife Sarah Vine, was filmed in a suit flailing his arms, dancing wildly and hugging other revellers at Bohemia in his home city

To my horror, I noticed people were filming us on their smartphones. I was struggling not to laugh. It was the worst dancing by a politician since Ann Widdecombe’s rumba to Celine Dion on Strictly a decade ago.

Michael isn’t the only chap who likes to put the party into politics on the dancefloor, though. 

Away from the cameras, David Cameron enjoys a groovy little shimmy on a night out. 

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak is a ballroom whiz who even made it to the semi-final of an amateur dance competition when he was an Oxford student.

On the Labour side, old bruiser John Prescott can be a surprisingly graceful mover.

Alas, Michael will never be blessed with the nifty footwork to wow us in the boogie stakes. 

So really, after this latest massacre on the dancefloor, he has only himself to blame. 

But thank you for giving us all a good laugh, anyway. And I hope the hangover is at least starting to wear off.

Now over to the expert who never holds back on home truths — as Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood gives the Mail his ‘cringe rating’ verdict (and, unlike the show, the lower the better) on some of Westminster’s more notable movers and shakers over the years…

PETER MANDELSON: Craig’s cringe score: 3/10  (champ)

Peter Mandelson enjoys a dance at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool 

Looking good, Mandy. 

He’s at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool here and the posture isn’t too bad, he’s not stiff. 

I think they’re attempting a tango but his elbow is too high. 

ED BALLS: Craig’s cringe score: 5/10 (chump)

Ed Balls enjoying a shimmy at the Daily Mirror conference party held at the Coronation Street studios, back in 2014

He’s doing a Charleston here. 

He’s been a national treasure since Strictly but his moves need finessing. 

It’s all a bit ungainly.   

BORIS JOHNSON: Craig’s cringe score: 8/10 (chump)

Boris Johnson and Darcey Bussell at the Big Dance Weekend in London in 2014 

Utterly useless, just a lump. 

All un-coordinated and his stride is far too long. Darcey looks divine, though. 

BEN BRADSHAW: Craig’s cringe score: 2/10 (champ)

Ben Bradshaw lets his hair down at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton in 2009 

Looks like he should be on a float. 

Wow, what enthusiasm! The hips are twisting well and he gets extra points for not having armpit sweat stains. 

MATT HANCOCK: Craig’s cringe score: 5/10 (chump)

Matt Hancock getting his groove on at the Chickenshed’s Annual Gala Dinner in London in 2017

Looks like he’s doing the ‘pony step’, a dance move from the Sixties — no idea if it was intentional. 

His dance partner has a wide gait, so they are performing two totally different dances to the music. 

All a bit awkward and Austin Powers, darling. 

ROY HATTERSLEY: Craig’s cringe score: 9/10 (chump)

Roy Hattersley attempts the Lambada with an 18-year-old dancer back in 1990

Hunched shoulders, no neckline, as stiff as an ironing board and he looks constipated. 

He’s attempting the lambada, which is a sexy Latin dance and it’s just dire. 

FRANCIS MAUDE: Craig’s cringe score: 9/10 (chump)

Francis Maude dancing at the Conservative Party Conference in 2006

Well, his partner is having a great time. He looks like he’s saying: ‘I’m going to the bar, d’you want anything?’ Making no effort at all. 

THERESA MAY: Craig’s cringe score: 6/10 (chump)

Theresa May dances as she takes the stage at Conservative party conference in Birmingham

I adore her for trying but, Theresa darling —shoulders back, chin up, ribcage lifted, core engaged, lengthen that neck, fingers together and mind your timing! 

JOHN PRESCOTT: Craig’s cringe score: 8/10 (chump)

John Prescott and wife boogie on down at Metrople Disco

Put some effort in, Prescott! His arms are superglued to his belly and he’ll never loosen up if he doesn’t take his eyes off the floor. 

KEITH VAZ: Craig’s cring score: 3/10 (champ)

Keith Vaz dances with belly dancers at an event in Brighton back in 2009

He’s sinking into a hip and using his knees and looking pretty fine, actually. 

He’s using his arms and legs in opposition, which is correct and that’s going to give him good rhythm. 

VINCE CABLE: Craig’s cringe score: 1/10 (champ)

Vince Cable dancing during the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special 

This was from a Strictly Christmas special. He’s got style, movement and panache and he oozes class. 

He’s very elegant, with perfect posture and can really take control and lead.

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