Piers Morgan And Michael Gove Clash Over 'Substantial Meal' Definition In Latest Scotch Egg Row

Daniel Welsh
·Entertainment Reporter
·4-min read

People, we have entered day two of the scotch egg discourse.

On Tuesday morning, it was Good Morning Britain presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid’s turn to challenge Michael Gove over exactly what constitutes a “substantial meal”.

And it wasn’t something the cabinet secretary found especially easy to define.

As several areas of the UK prepare to enter Tier 2 lockdown restrictions later this week – meaning pubs can open, but alcohol will only be served alongside a “substantial meal” – environment secretary George Eustice made headlines on Monday when he stated that a scotch egg “probably would count as a substantial meal if there were table service”.

Asked about the matter during the following morning’s edition of GMB, Michael Gove said: “As far as I’m concerned, it’s probably a starter.

“But the broader and more serious point that I think that we need to establish is that there are reasonable rules about hospitality, which are there in order to keep us all safe, and they specify that in certain areas, if you are in a hospitality setting… if you’re ordering drinks, it needs to be alongside a substantial meal.”

Piers Morgan brandishing a scotch egg (Photo: ITV)
Piers Morgan brandishing a scotch egg (Photo: ITV)

Piers then interrupted, calling for clarity and asking the direct question: “What is a substantial meal? Tell us.”

“It’s a definition that’s existed in law for years now, if I’m taking my 16-year-old son or 17-year-old daughter out to the pub, I can buy them an alcoholic drink, provided it’s with a substantial meal.”

The divisive host then repeated his question, to which Gove said: “It’s been defined in law for years now… the law was passed long before I ever became an MP, I think.”

“So you’ve no idea what constitutes a substantial meal?” Piers then questioned.

“I think I’d say three things,” Gove began. “We’ve got hospitality settings that have been perfectly happy for years to make sure that 16 and 17-year-olds only have alcoholic drinks with substantial meals…”

Michael Gove weighs in on what GMB called the "scotch egg row" (Photo: ITV)
Michael Gove weighs in on what GMB called the "scotch egg row" (Photo: ITV)

“With respect Mr Gove,” Piers then interjected. “If you’re one of the gang of four that’s basically been deciding all of this stuff all year, and even you can’t tell us what a substantial meal is, how is anybody supposed to know?”

Later in the discussion, Susanna Reid pointed out that the lack of clarity over whether a scotch egg was, indeed, a substantial meal was proof of bigger issues within the government’s ability to agree on restrictions.

“It may sound trivial,” Piers agreed. “But actually, it’s really important to people. People want to go and have a meal, but they want to know what the rules are.”

Susanna added: “And pubs definitely need to know what the rules are otherwise they get fined.”

Referencing his earlier comment, Gove concluded: “Pubs already do know what the rules are. And they have for years now.

“Now, I made a jocular remark that my own preference when it comes to a substantial meal might be for more than just a scotch egg. But that’s because I’m a hearty trencherman.”

And of course, the whole thing descended into a load of Piers Morgan and Michael Gove talking over one another, with occasional references to scotch eggs.

An average snapshot from a day in UK political discourse (Photo: ITV)
An average snapshot from a day in UK political discourse (Photo: ITV)

Things didn't get off to the best start with Gove's interview, either, with Susanna initially having to remind the government official that she was "there too", after he initially only said good morning to Piers.

Tuesday’s GMB also saw Piers taking Rita Ora to task after her 30th birthday party, which made front page news due to the fact it took place during lockdown.

Following the chart-topping singer’s public apology, Piers claimed: “You’re not deeply sorry – you’re deeply sorry you got caught! That’s what you’re ‘deeply sorry’ about.

“If you hadn’t been caught would you be issuing a statement saying: ‘I’ve just woken up and realised what I did was terribly wrong and I’m deeply sorry’?”

Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.