Michael Gove has bemoaned the "football manager culture" of British politics as he said critics are "too quick" to call for the head of a politician who makes a mistake.
The Tory former frontbencher who served as justice secretary, education secretary and chief whip, said elected representatives should be given the opportunity to learn from their errors.
George Osborne recently said he did not show enough "vulnerability and acceptance that I was getting things wrong" when he was chancellor because any such admission would have meant "that's the only story you're going to hear".
Mr Gove was asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show to name his biggest mistake.
He said: "There are so many. One I did fess up to which happened I think relatively early on when I was education secretary was cancelling Building Schools for the Future.
"It was not so much that it was wrong to try to save public money, it was done in a crass and insensitive way and it taught me a lesson.
"But I remember David Davis came up to me at the end of what had been a very bruising experience for me in the House of Commons and he said 'well, you...' and he used an Anglo-Saxon phrase '...there, but you will be a better minister for this because you learn from your mistakes'.
"One of the things, and I think this is perhaps one of the points of George's, is that there can sometimes be a football manager culture of politics which means that we are too quick to condemn people when they make a mistake and too quick to call for their resignation when the best, and I think that's true of most politicians, learn from their errors and improve on the job."