Michael Gove shocks Westminster with bid for Tory leadership


Michael Gove shocked Westminster this morning when he announced his bid to run for Tory leadership.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove gives a briefing on the EU as part of the Vote Leave campaign.
(Lauren Hurley/PA)

The move surprised those who expected Gove to back Boris Johnson. The two politicians worked together closely during the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

Some said Gove stabbed Johnson in the back when he concluded the former Mayor of London "cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead".

"I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be prime minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me," he said.

"I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future.

"But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead."

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson (right) on the Vote Leave campaign bus in Lancashire, as Gove announced he will seek the Tory leadership after concluding Johnson
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Since Gove announced his leadership just hours before the close of nominations, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May have both announced they will run for leadership too.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb are also putting themselves forward.

A series of run-offs will begin on Tuesday as MPs whittle down the hopefuls to two, who will tussle for the support of grassroots members in a one-member-one-vote contest.