Mr Gove faced a furious backlash on social media after suggesting that being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys was like “going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom.
Nicola Sturgeon tweeted this morning: "Women being abused and raped is not a laughing matter. And it doesn’t make us ‘humourless’ to say so."
The cabinet minister later apologised on Twitter, he said: “Apologies for my clumsy attempt at humour on R4 Today this morning - it wasn’t appropriate. I’m sorry and apologise unreservedly.”,
Mr Gove was being interviewed by Mr Humphrys in front of a live audience for the 60th anniversary edition of Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.
Asked what it was like appearing on the programme, Mr Gove replied: “Sometimes I think going into the studio with you John is a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom. You just pray you emerge with your dignity intact.”
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock, who was being interviewed alongside him, joined in, saying: “John goes way past groping. Way past groping.”Their comments were greeted with laughter and some clapping from some members of the audience in London’s Wigmore Hall.
Listeners took to Twitter to condemn Mr Gove for his remark, including Labour MP Jess Phillips, who wrote: “Michael Gove just left the studio without his dignity.”Actor Stephen Mangan wrote: “Morning. Here’s a rape joke from Michael Gove to start your day.”
One listener commented that “there are no words for how appalling he is” while another said “Rape and harassment are not a joke @BBCr4today #r4today”.