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It’s time Michael Gove got the credit for stopping Boris from becoming Prime Minister

November 9th, 2017

At 25/1 the Environment Sec looks a value leadership bet

We all remember that crazy Thursday morning in June last year when Michael Gove announced that he was standing for the Conservative leadership thus scuppering in one blindingly effective stroke the bid by former Mayor of London, Mr Johnson.

If anyone can take the credit for undermining the Boris bid for Number 10 it is the Environment Secretary. He did it because he more than anyone could see the inadequacies of the man who a few days later Mrs May appointed as Foreign Secretary.

    It was a brave and potentially risky thing for Gove to do and each consequential cock-up by Johnson as Foreign Secretary underlines how important his move then was.

The Foreign Secretary’s dreadful handling of the case of the British woman in an Iranian jail has surely put Boris out of the running for the leadership. The absence of Tory MPs in the Commons chamber this week for his statement was a good pointer to his chances now.

A Conservative leadership election, of course, is in two parts and the most vital first hurdle is to get backing of the parliamentary Conservative Party. Only the final two in the MP ballots get to be put to the party membership at large in the postal ballotand it is very hard to see the Foreign Secretary making it now. Iain Martin in the Times this morning notes:

At Westminster, Michael Gove is undergoing a renaissance. “Michael was proved right about Boris’s unsuitability last year,” a colleague observes. I suggest a modest flutter on his leadership chances.

That sounds like good advice given that it is likely to go to a leaver who takes over from Mrs. May.

Mike Smithson