May says she wants all ministers to feel they can stay in their posts

Theresa May has said she wants all Cabinet ministers to feel they can stay on in their jobs, amid furious speculation in Westminster over the future of Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

After losing four ministers in the wake of her poorly received Brexit deal, Mrs May faced calls to stand down from members of the public on a radio phone-in.

One caller to the half-hour grilling on LBC told the PM that Jacob Rees-Mogg would make a better leader, while another said she had “appeased” the EU like Neville Chamberlain in his negotiations with Hitler.

Mr Gove remained tight-lipped when asked about his intentions as he arrived for work at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as reports suggested that he had decided to stay in Mrs May’s Government.

Brexit
Brexit

Now the most senior member of the Leave campaign in the Cabinet, Mr Gove was reported to have been offered the post of Brexit Secretary vacated by Dominic Raab, but to have said he would only take it if he could renegotiate the EU withdrawal agreement.

Asked whether she could afford the loss of Mr Gove from her team, Mrs May told LBC: “I want all of my colleagues in the Cabinet to feel able to carry on doing the excellent job they are doing.”

The PM said she had “a very good conversation” with Mr Gove on Thursday, but declined to say what they had discussed, other than the future of the fishing industry after Brexit.

She said the Environment Secretary had been doing “a great job”, adding: “I haven’t appointed a new Brexit Secretary yet, but obviously I will be doing that over the course of the next day or so.”