By August 2019, when he was Boris Johnson’s minister in charge of no-deal preparations, Gove’s mood had changed. He told TV cameras he was “deeply saddened” that the EU was “refusing to negotiate with the UK” after the EU said UK demands to replace the Irish backstop were unacceptable. The backstop had been the thorn in negotiations between Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May and the EU, and it continued to be for his government.
At best, Gove was being recklessly optimistic, misleading voters into believing exiting the EU would be easy. This was just one of many statements made to voters during the referendum campaign that turned out to be false. Again and again, Gove has made false statements about Britain and the EU.