MCHAEL Gove denied that more than 70,000 Covid-19 deaths in the UK counts as an “abject failure” during an interview with Good Morning Britain.

Asked by Piers Morgan if he felt the figure, the highest in Europe, as well as poor economic results show his government’s failings, Gove said they did not.

Referring to government ministers’ insistence to wait until later to compare the UK’s handling of the pandemic to other countries’, Morgan suggested it is now the time to look around us.

“This country has spent more money than almost any other comparable country, we’ve achieved the worst economic performance of pretty much any comparable country, and we had the worst death toll of any comparable country – including the worst death toll in the whole of Europe," Morgan put to Gove.

“How have we got to this place? You’re one of the senior members of this government, do you accept it has been an abject failure?”

Gove replied simply “no”.

The host was stunned by the Cabinet Office minister’s response. “Really?” Morgan asked.

“Yes,” Gove answered.

The Tory minister insisted the UK is not yet through the pandemic, but Morgan told him “the stats don’t lie”.

Referring to the latest analysis from the Financial Times, which estimates that the UK’s death toll is now at 70,000 or more, Morgan told him: “That is more than the entire number of civilians who died in the United Kingdom during the entirety of World War Two,” he told Gove. “What part of this is not a disaster?”

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Gove again insisted the UK is not through the pandemic yet and promoted England’s new tier system which is set to come into effect after the nation’s lockdown ends this week.

However he acknowledged it would be important to reflect on the figures and look at how other countries have dealt with the pandemic in due course.

The 70,000 coronavirus deaths figure comes from the latest data available on death registrations plus data from the UK Government’s official figures.

The Government’s official data counts 58,030 Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.