The National:

EVERY good comic knows timing is everything.

A particularly smug Michael Gove has given a masterclass while appearing in front of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.

Committee chair Hilary Benn pointed out that the UK Government has produced a 60-page impact assessment for the proposed free-trade agreement with the US.

Gove was asked if Boris Johnson’s government was planning to do the same for a proposed free-trade agreement with the EU.

“No … because we are going to take a different approach. We are going to invite, from across a range of organisations, their views on what impact a free-trade agreement with the EU and consequent changes might be.

“I am personally sceptical to say that any given impact assessment by a government department is an accurate prediction of the future.”

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Why then, did the UK Government bother doing the impact assessment of the US deal?

Gove, redefining what it means to be smug, replied: “Uh, uh, I, it is an evolving picture and I …”

His response prompted laughter and an interjection from Benn, who issued a correction: “I think it’s called a contradiction.”

Gove replied: “No I don’t think it is. I think it is an evolving picture and I am not persuaded of the merits of publishing assessments and then assuming that those are going to give us an accurate prediction of the future.”

Ever the showman, the Tory minister delivered his shameless response while suspending a jug of water precariously above his cup.

Distracted by the self-assumed brilliance of his statement, Gove poured the contents onto his phone and notes.

But as Gove knows, things don’t always go to plan in comedy.

The Tory made his big breakthrough in the industry on Channel 4 show A Stab in the Dark in 1992.

WATCH: Gove says Scots are seen as 'unattractive creatures' in unearthed TV clip

The appearance came back to haunt him last year when footage of the show re-emerged on social media.

In it, Gove was shown mocking Scots, suggesting they beg for money and are seen as "unattractive creatures".

We’d say stick to your day job, but he doesn’t seem to be much use at that either.