Boost for Theresa May as Michael Gove confirms he will not quit Cabinet over draft Brexit deal
Theresa May has been handed a boost after Michael Gove confirmed he would not be quitting the Cabinet over Brexit.
The Environment Secretary said he was "looking forward to continuing to work with all my government colleagues" following speculation he was set to follow Dominic Raab and Esther McVey in resigning from the Prime Minister's top team.
Mr Gove was said to be on the brink of leaving his job after turning down the chance of succeeding Mr Raab as Brexit Secretary after being told he would not be able to re-negotiate the Brexit deal struck by Mrs May.
But asked outside the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he still had confidence in the Prime Minister, he said: "I absolutely do. I’ve had a very good morning with a series of meetings with my colleagues here in Defra, just making sure that we’ve the right policies on the environment, farming and on fisheries for the future.
"And I’m also looking forward to continuing to work with all my government colleagues and all my colleagues in parliament in order to make sure that we get the best future for Britain. I think it’s absolutely vital that we focus on getting the right deal in the future and making sure that in the areas that matter so much to the British people we can get a good outcome."
In a further boost for Mrs May, it has also been reported that Cabinet Brexiteers Penny Mordaunt, Andrea Leadsom and Chris Grayling - who were also thought to be considering their futures - have also decided to stay in their posts in an attempt to persuade the Prime Minister to shift her ground.
Mr Gove’s intervention comes amid rumours that the PM could be subject to a vote of confidence, after several Tory MPs yesterday made public that they had handed in their letters to the party’s chair of its backbench committee.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the head of the powerful pro-hard Brexit European Research Group, was among those to announce he had written to 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady.
He told a gathering of journalists outside Westminster yesterday that the agreement was “worse than anticipated”, adding: “"It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place.
"Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party ... this is a formal letter of no confidence in the leader."
Mark Francois, another Tory eurosceptic, this morning became the latest MP to announce he had also submitted a letter to Mr Brady, inching the total closer to the 48 needed to trigger a vote.