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Ditch Theresa May for Michael Gove to get best Brexit deal, says top Tory donor

3 min read

Theresa May should be replaced by Michael Gove so Britain can get the best Brexit deal, according to a major Conservative donor.

Hedge fund billionaire Crispin Odey, who has donated millions to the party, told The Observer that Environment Secretary should step up to the top job in order to deliver Brexit.

Mr Odey, who was a prominent supporter of the Leave campaign, blasted the Government for their timid handling of negotiations with Brussels, saying Theresa May lacked the leadership to secure the right deal.

“We’ve got to have that self confidence to make breaches”, he said. "There is no point in voting for freedom if you don’t know what to do when you are free.

“What is true is that you have a whole lot of people who didn’t want this to happen who are in charge of it happening.

“I would go to Gove. He’s the only minister who is still being a minister. Michael has got lots of attributes that make him a non-traditional Tory. He is very aware that he has to appeal not just to the wealthy, but also more broadly. I don’t think May can carry Brexit through any more.”

But Mr Gove, who stood unsuccesfuly for the Tory leadership in 2016, reportedly dismissed suggestions that he could take over from Mrs May in the near future.

A source close to the Environment Secretary told The Guardian that he was “fully supportive of the Prime Minister and will continue to be so.” They added: “He believes it’s vital we get behind our Prime Minister to deliver the Brexit 17.4 million people voter for.”

Meanwhile, Mr Odey, who has previously donated cash to UKIP, urged the UK to take a more robust stance during the negotiations, even suggesting that the Government should breach the rules in order to ensure that we are ready for life after we leave the bloc.

“Italy has confronted the EU - they’ve said they will go ahead and be in breach of the rules.

“We should say, ‘we’ve got to have life after this, so we’re creating that life. We are creating trade agreements which are in breach of everything, because we won’t be in breach by the time you come to take us to court.’ That’s how Elizabeth I would have been leading with this.”

“We should be reaching out to Italy. We should be saying that we have so many of the same problems.”

His full-throated attack on the Prime Minister could re-open splits in the Cabinet over Mrs May’s leadership which has been marred by warring factions of Remain and Leave supporting ministers.

And it comes as a new Deltapoll shows that 57% of the public believe that the Government’s negotiating team are handling the crunch talks badly, with only 27% saying that they are doing well.

The poll for the Sun on Sunday also showed that the public supported Mrs May stepping down from her role once the negotiations are completed. 27% said she should stand down immediately, while 15% believe she should stay on as a care taker until a new leader is found and 14% think a she should call a fresh leadership election in which she stands. Only 27% thought it was right that she carried on in her role.

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