Gove described northerners as "cruel, dirty, toothless"Paul Clarke/ Wikimedia Commons

CN: Contains sexist, racist, homophobic and classist language

Recordings obtained by the Independent have revealed Cabinet Minister Michael Gove making derogatory remarks about Black people, women, gay men and northerners during debates at the Cambridge Union.

Gove made the remarks while President of the Oxford Union in 1987, and during his television career in 1993.

Speaking in favour of the motion “This house believes that the British Empire was lost on the playing fields of Eton”, Mr Gove argued that it “may be moral to keep an empire because the fuzzy-wuzzies can’t look after themselves”.

Gove also remarked that Britain under Thatcher was a “new empire” where “the happy south stamps over the cruel, dirty, toothless face of the northerner”.

In 1993, while working as a journalist for the BBC, Gove was invited back to the Union, wherein he made sexual jokes about Lucy Frazer, the then president of the Union, commenting that she was “actually capable of tempting me into bed with her”, and suggesting that she had had group sex with the entirety of Lady Margaret Hall’s rugby team. He went on to remark that she had a “preference for peach-flavoured condoms.”

He added that she had “done remarkably well coming as she had done from the back streets of the slums of Leeds”.

Mr Gove has also been accused of homophobia, following his remarks about notable Cambridge alumnus John Maynard Keynes, claiming that he was a “homosexualist”, adding that “many of us are familiar with the fact that homosexuals thrive primarily on short-term relations”.

According to former Labour frontbencher, Andrew Gwynne, though “attitudes have moved quickly” he was “not sure that even in 1987 these things were acceptable”.

Sources close to Mr Gove have dismissed the allegations, claiming that debates were based on ridiculous motions that the speaker did not necessarily agree with but had to defend.

However, Andrew Gwynne is less generous, arguing that as “one of the most senior cabinet ministers in the land”, Mr Gove had a duty to apologise for the “deeply offensive” comments.

For the Muslim Association of Britain, “Michael Gove’s comments are a window into the real ideology that animates a powerful cross-section of the Conservative political class”, helping explain why “it’s in the state it is with regards to Islamophobia when its leading politicians hold such racist views”.

Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, asked that the “prime minister consider whether this is the type of person that deserves to be sat around the cabinet table. However, given Boris Johnson’s own history of disgraceful remarks, I expect this will be another shameful issue he lets go unchallenged.”

Varsity has contacted Michael Gove for comment.