Michael Gove promises crackdown on executive pay if he succeeds David Cameron in Conservative leadership race

Jake Cordell
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Michael Gove has attacked some sections of the City as behaving like David Brent
Michael Gove has attacked some sections of the City as behaving like David Brent (Source: Getty)

Michael Gove has promised to tackle the scandal of the "undeserving rich" and crack down on executive pay as he steps up his campaign in the Conservative leadership race.

The justice secretary said he will look at "radical" solutions to stamp out excessive corporate pay in an attack which could raise concerns in City boardrooms.

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Gove said: "We have a problem whereby individuals which run companies they never created pay themselves like Steve Jobs when they behave like David Brent. When they fail they get massive pay-offs and gilt-edged pensions.

"I'm going to look at the laws which govern how corporate pay is fixed and the laws which govern corporate payoffs so that we do not have a culture of pay for failure."

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David Cameron introduced rules which attempted to blunt the rise of sky-high executive pay packets, including a shareholder vote on remuneration and regulations requiring companies to publish a single, transparent figure for directors' take-home pay.

However, Gove was unapologetic in his assault on "the scandal of the undeserving rich" implying he would go much further. Despite the comments, he did not offer any specific solutions as to how he would end the "culture of pay for failure", refusing to be drawn on the idea of bonus or salary caps, wealth taxes, pay ratios or any of the other proposals which have been suggested by campaigners against high pay.

Gove also addressed some of the controversial events leading up to his announcement to stand in the Conservative leadership race on Thursday, which has been portrayed as him backstabbing the former mayor of London Boris Johnson, who he previously supported.

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"It would have been a genuine betrayal of principle and of country to allow Boris' candidacy to go ahead with my support," he said.

"I withdrew my support, Boris could have chosen to go on if he wished to. I think the fact he chose not to is telling."

Michael Gove is tussling with Andrea Leadsom, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox and frontrunner Theresa May to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party and prime minister.

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