Michael Gove announces he is QUITTING frontline politics: Ex-Cabinet minister has one last dig at old rival Boris by endorsing Rishi Sunak as Britain’s next Prime Minister
- Michael Gove said Liz Truss’s campaign and tax cuts are a ‘holiday from reality’
- He said he is choosing ‘from the heart’ to back Rishi as frontbench career is over
- Comes after warnings he will be outcast to ‘political Siberia’ if Ms Truss wins race
Michael Gove has announced he is quitting frontline politics while formally endorsing Rishi Sunak to be the next prime minister – in one last dig at his old rival Boris Johnson.
The former cabinet minister said the ex-chancellor will ‘put the strength of the state at the service of the weakest’ and give millions of people the help they need to battle the cost-of-living crisis.
In a piece for the Times, he also branded long-standing Boris ally Liz Truss’s campaign as a ‘holiday from reality’, and said her proposed tax cuts will put ‘the stock options of FTSE 100 executives’ before the poorest.
It comes after it was claimed that the former Levelling-up Secretary would be outcast to ‘political Siberia’ if Ms Truss wins the Conservative leadership battle, as punishment for his ‘plotting’ to get her knocked out of the race – a claim an ally of his branded an ‘absurd conspiracy’.
Meanwhile, the rivalry between Mr Gove and Mr Johnson stretches right back to their university days at Oxford, where the slightly younger Gove was described as being in awe of the current Prime Minister and one of the key members of the ‘Boris cult’.
But the relationship turned sour when he famously torpedoed Mr Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 by withdrawing support for him at the 11th hour and running himself – reportedly having been ‘appalled’ by his rivals decision to play cricket and ‘throw a boozy garden party’ instead of working on delivering Brexit after Vote Leave won the referendum.
He now says he is choosing from the heart by backing Sunak – branded a ‘snake’ and ‘back-stabber’ by fierce Boris allies – because he believes his career on the frontbench is over.
‘I do not expect to be in government again. But it was the privilege of my life to spend 11 years in the cabinet under three prime ministers,’ he writes.
The rivalry between Mr Gove and Mr Johnson (pictured together in May this year) stretches right back to their university days at Oxford, where the slightly younger Gove was described as being in awe of the current Prime Minister and one of the key members of the ‘Boris cult’
It was claimed that the former Levelling-up Secretary would be outcast to ‘political Siberia’ if Liz Truss wins the Conservative leadership battle (pictured together), as punishment for his ‘plotting’ to get her knocked out of the race – a claim an ally of his branded an ‘absurd conspiracy’
‘I know what the job requires. And Rishi has it.’
He added: ‘And here I am deeply concerned that the framing of the leadership debate by many has been a holiday from reality. The answer to the cost of living crisis cannot be simply to reject further ‘handouts’ and cut tax.
‘Proposed cuts to national insurance would favour the wealthy, and changes to corporation tax apply to big businesses, not small entrepreneurs.
‘I cannot see how safeguarding the stock options of FTSE 100 executives should ever take precedence over supporting the poorest in our society, but at a time of want it cannot be the right priority.’
Mr Gove, who backed Kemi Badenoch earlier in the contest, said he does not believe Ms Truss’s ‘prospectus is the right answer for the world we face’.
Michael Gove has announced he is quitting frontline politics while formally endorsing RIshi Sunak to be the next prime minister
‘It does not address the fundamental problems of potential neglected, productivity suppressed and the vulnerable suffering the most,’ he wrote.
Mr Gove says he refuses to accept the ‘SW1 consensus’ that the current foreign secretary has it in the bag.
‘A bandwagon is clattering down Whitehall with eager new adherents clambering aboard,’ Mr Gove said.
The late intervention comes after two polls this week suggested Truss has amassed an unattainable lead.
However the former education secretary believes Mr Sunak will emerge victorious because party members know he will promise ‘only what he knows can be delivered’.
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