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Michael Gove Says It Was A "Mistake" To Run Against Boris Johnson For Leader In 2016

Michael Gove Says It Was A 'Mistake' To Run Against Boris Johnson For Leader In 2016


2 min read

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has said he "enthusiastically" supported the Prime Minister during his confidence vote on Monday and regrets running against him for party leader in 2016.

During the leadership election of 2016, triggered by the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Cameron following the EU referendum, Gove initially supported Johnson but eventually withdrew his backing to announce his own candidacy. Gove came third in the contest, which was ultimately won by Theresa May.

Gove has now admitted his decision to run against Johnson, which ultimately led to the now-prime minister withdrawing his candidacy, was a "mistake" and a "misjudgement".

"If you've been in politics for a little while, as I have been, then you know, there are always mistakes you can look back on," he told Sky News. 

Gove said he believed Johnson is doing a good job and that it had been a "privilege" to work alongside him to untangle Brexit. 

"I worked alongside him particularly during the covid crisis. He was very seriously ill and  recovered in order to lead the world's most successful vaccination programme and the booster programme," Gove continued. 

He also backed calls for further tax cuts on Thursday morning, while admitting that existing tax cuts to fuel had been wiped out by subsequent price rises.

He told LBC he understood it was "not an easy time" and that ministers "don’t shy away" from the challenges households face.

“The Chancellor and the PM want to and will introduce tax cuts, but the Chancellor would kill me if I announced anything before he did," he continued.

He also told Sky News: "The situation is difficult for many people and of course it's all a consequence of the war in Ukraine, and we don't know how the shockwaves of that war will continue to affect the energy market and the price of petrol for people who are hard-pressed."

Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have hinted in recent days that tax cuts could be coming down the line, with Johnson claiming on Tuesday that it was a “fundamental Conservative instinct” to cut taxes.

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