THREE little words that mean so much. Whether shouted from the rooftops or whispered in an ear, one simple phrase can tell you everything you need to know about the state of a relationship. It’s a heart-stopping moment when someone finally works up the nerve to say it: “You’re a liar”.

Ciaran Jenkins of Channel 4 News came pretty close this week, while interviewing Michael Gove in a farmyard in Dumfries and Galloway. He asked whether it was a lie that the EU wants to “ban tea kettles”, as claimed in a dramatic Vote Leave poster showing brown liquid splashing out of a smashed mug. Loud mooing from the surrounding cattle sheds added a surreal twist as the Minister for No Deal tried to justify this spinning of energy-efficiency rules into an existential threat to the Great British cuppa.

“You use the L-word – that’s a very powerful word,” he said, getting philosophical. “What you are attempting to do is make a polemical case”– at this point he began bouncing up and down on his tiptoes – “you’re making a polemical case for a particular viewpoint.”

It’s funny, because it sounded as though Jenkins was in fact asking a perfectly straightforward question about claims made during the EU referendum by a campaigning organisation led by Michael Gove. Had he been making a polemical case he could have said, for example: “I put it to you that you will say anything, at any point in time, that you think will advance your own personal position, with no regard whatsoever for the truth, for principle, or for the wellbeing of the people of the United Kingdom”. But he didn’t say that. He just kept asking straightforward questions.

Unable to penetrate Gove’s monologue, he tried changing the subject. Was Boris Johnson’s claim about the Tories building 40 new hospitals true or false? “Yes it is,” replied Gove, confusingly, before returning to his script: “If you want to have a proper conversation then we can have a proper conservation, but of course what you want to do is mount a polemical case...” At this point the cattle began mooing more loudly, almost as if they could detect a bullshitter in the vicinity. It takes one to know one, perhaps.

Does Gove think we are stupid? Does he honestly imagine we don’t notice what he’s doing? Some might argue these questions involved the splitting of hairs about whether a given hospital is new as opposed to refurbished, or whether a tightening of EU rules can be fairly described as a “ban”, and that politicians have been spinning and side-stepping in this manner since the dawn of time. But this week the Tories crossed a line. And worse still, they haven’t ruled out crossing it again.

On Tuesday night, in time for ITV’s election debate, the Conservative party press office changed the name of its official Twitter account to “factcheckUK” and wiped away its party logo. In response to this outrageous, utterly dishonest move, Twitter warned that “any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information” during the election campaign would result in “decisive corrective action”.

Yet when asked if his party had misled people by doing this, Michael Gove gave a rare straight answer: “No-no-no-no-no-no-no”.

Ah, the old multiple-no response – a sure sign of an honest man, as we established from watching Prince Andrew gurn and theatrically gasp his way through his interview with Emily Maitlis last weekend. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no”, the Queen was not involved in telling him to end his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and there was “no no no activity” involving him and the teenaged Virginia Roberts, whom he has no recollection of ever meeting.

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: Prince Andrew's BBC interview no less than a right royal disaster

Obviously that should have settled the matter, but this week we were blessed with another statement from the Duke, advising that because everyone has been so mean about him we are henceforth to be deprived of his public duties. I’m sure somehow we will cope.

There were also some things he wanted to reiterate, and by reiterate I mean execute a 180-degree change of position about. “I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure,” he said. “Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations.” Given that he last week said “I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing,” this represents a very speedy gathering of an almost infinite amount of advice.

He went on: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged associated with Jeffrey Epstein”, despite last week saying he did not regret the friendship because “the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful”.

Does he think he we are all deaf? And if so, is he unaware of subtitles and transcripts? What next? Will the @TheDukeOfYork Twitter account soon be sneakily rebranded as The Innoncence Project?

Forget stage-managed interviews and General Election debates – what we need are polygraphs in the palace, in the parliament ... and down by the pig shed, too.