What do you think of Michael Gove’s candidature?

Michael Gove is an intelligent man who has always had an impact on any department he has been given as a Minister. Some rate his reforms of education highly, tackling the educational “blob”. Others think he fell out with the teaching profession in a damaging way which did not help motivate them to reform exams and raise standards. He was not given time to see through his prison reform programme which looked interesting. At Environment he has become an energetic green,keen to tax and regulate to achieve green aims. His wish to curb plastic waste is generally popular.

He played an important role in the last leadership election by changing his mind on the suitability of his preferred candidate, Boris Johnson, on the eve of nominations. His decision to withdraw support from Boris Johnson whilst acting as his Campaign Manager led to Boris Johnson’s withdrawal from the race and to the election of Mrs May. At the time Mr Gove told us he was not capable of being leader, followed by comments that he had changed his mind about his suitability.

Mr Gove previously joined the Vote Leave campaign and made some important media contributions to its success. When he rejoined the government he became a very strong proponent of Mrs May’s Withdrawal Treaty, brushing aside criticisms that it is not Brexit, that it would delay our exit and undermine our negotiating position to eventually get out. Now that Mrs May’s Agreement has gone down to a spectacular defeat, attracting just 9.1% support in a UK wide election, he needs to tell us why he thought it such a good idea and why we should still be considering it as part of the answer to our Brexit needs. It is difficult to believe even Mr Gove could sell it to the public, even if he is capable of the unlikely skill of selling it to a shocked Labour party and driving it through the Commons against the wishes of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs.

I would be interested to hear the case for Mr Gove from those who do want him to be Prime Minister.


  1. What Tiler
    May 29, 2019

    Self serving, duplicitous and a lot less clever than he thinks he is; next!

    1. Tory in Cumbria
      May 29, 2019

      The problem is that you have just described every single person in the field (excepting possibly Mr Stewart)

      1. Tad Davison
        May 29, 2019

        For the first part, I agree, although it doesn’t apply equally. Some are worse than others.

        For the second part, in parenthesis, you missed your vocation! You have a real knack of making people laugh! Stewart is precisely the type of politician we are desperate to get away from! He has no charisma whatsoever and does not cut through to the people. He’s a remainer to boot. Short of doing a complete and detailed character analysis, I’ll leave it there.

        I see the remainers are really going all-out to stop Boris. Shows what dirty players these people are. The public’s favourite, and the membership’s favourite must be stopped at all costs in their opinion because, heaven forbid, they should chose a leaver. What a grubby sordid mess the Parliamentary Conservative Party has become. The people have moved on, but MP’s, drunk and besotted with their own inflated importance, haven’t.

        And that supposedly neutral House of Commons speaker is going to stay on past the date he said he would go, to see through the remainer betrayal. That was to be expected from a person who will try anything to give remainers an unfair advantage. Nothing quite like loading the dice in their favour!

        There’s one person whom I have tried to get to stand for leader, but has not yet declared their hand. A person who could easily teach the rest a thing or two about truth and ethics. A person of integrity and proven leadership, who bears true allegiance to the crown. I just hope for the nation’s sake they are elected for they will be a popular choice once everyone hears what they have to say, and they are well capable of cleaning out the stables and removing the miasma of grubby politics from Westminster. The one person who could see voters return to the Tory fold.

        This degenerative rabble needs sorting out once and for all. They don’t see their actions are bringing the entire political process into disrepute. Until they are cleared out, and the Tories get back to being a patriotic ‘Leave’ party, I will continue to place my vote elsewhere.

      2. Edward2
        May 29, 2019

        Your support of Rory must be a perfect signal that he isn’t going to be a suitable leader of the Conservative Party.

      3. BillM
        May 30, 2019

        Stewart is a die-hard Remainer. And he’s the one who should replace a failed die-hard Remainer? Hmm. What odd logic.

      4. libertarian
        May 31, 2019


        That would be the Mr Stewart who admits to smoking opium and in a live radio interview made up a statistic that when challenged his answer was when I said it was 80% what I meant was it Felt like it should be . Lol

        You must be some kind of sucker to think Mr Stewart is worthy of leading anything

    2. Peter
      May 29, 2019

      Many will regard Gove’s killing off Johnson’s leadership as the reason for Mrs. May becoming Prime Minister and will not forgive that.

      The public do not trust him.

      1. Julie Dyson
        May 29, 2019

        I have to agree with Peter, Sir John.

        I suspect you will be hard pressed to find many willing to make a case for Gove as he is widely considered one of the slimiest, sneakiest, most duplicitous men ever to hold high office in recent history — and that’s really saying something.

        Much of this is because he was a “Champion of Leave” back in the day but has since demonstrated his true colours. In some ways he is even more despised than Mrs May, partly because he was instrumental in her ascendancy — with disasterious results — and partly because she was always a Remainer so in a sense held true to her real beliefs, while he was supposed to be “one of us” and has since proven to be anything but.

        That kind of treachery is hard to forgive.

        1. Timaction
          May 29, 2019

          +1 and thousand more if I could!

        2. Atlas
          May 29, 2019

          I agree with Peter and Julie:

          I do not trust Mr Gove one iota now.

        3. Julie Dyson
          May 29, 2019

          … and next time I may even proof-read before posting — my spelling is truly… disastrous. 🙂

        4. Elli Ron
          May 29, 2019

          Gove is “continuity Calamity Theresa”, only worse.
          His agenda is worthless, because he changes his mind more than his underware (I assume a daily change of underware), what he execels in is untrusworthiness.
          I would prefer an honest Remainder than Gove.

          1. John Hatfield
            May 29, 2019


    3. oldtimer
      May 29, 2019

      You sum him up admirably. He also, along with Hammond, help put the boot in the UK car industry and JLR in particular by his uninformed comments on the properties of modern diesel engines. That cost jobs.

      A thumbs down from me.

    4. eeyore
      May 29, 2019

      Er, what is wrong with a self-serving politician?

      The ambition to serve one’s country has always been seen as highly honourable. There is no reason why genuine public spirit should not go hand in hand with a desire to be great, wealthy and powerful oneself.

    5. Dennis Zoff
      May 29, 2019

      What Tiler

      I agree with your sentiments.

      Gove cannot be trusted. He does not support Brexit and would most certainly prefer UK remained shackled to Brussels.

  2. Pominoz
    May 29, 2019

    Sir John,

    “I would be interested to hear the case for Mr Gove from those who do want him to be Prime Minister.”

    You can expect comments in single figures then. Easy on your moderating task.

    Would not trust him as far as I could throw him!

    1. NigelE
      May 29, 2019

      Agreed, and he’s my MP.

      I’ve written to him several time asking how he can reconcile his position before the referendum vote with his enthusiastic support for the WA but received no replies other than a ‘thank you for your email’ from his assistants.

      I cannot envisage my voting for him in any future election.

    2. Stephen Priest
      May 29, 2019

      Every single candidate so far has voted for the Withdrawal Agreement. For example Esther McVey once said that she was made of sterner stuff, but then proved she wasn’t by voting for it.

      They all seem to be under the illusion that if they could persuade Barnier to make a couple of tweaks here and there to the Withdrawal Agreement the Brexit Party and Farage would be finished.

      They could then return to vote winning policies such banning ice cream vans and prosecuting ex service men while terrorists are pardoned .

      1. Charli Farley
        May 29, 2019

        Wrong. Check out Baker and Patel’s voting records.

  3. Nigl
    May 29, 2019

    So it is a no comment from me.

    1. Mark B
      May 29, 2019

      Oh come on, Nigl, fill ya boots 😉

      1. Nigl
        May 29, 2019

        Don’t tempt me!

  4. Lifelogic
    May 29, 2019

    He read English at Oxford, he is the reason we suffer the appalling Theresa May (still talking the same vacuous drivel again yesterday), he wants to kill and put vat on private schools, has almost no appeal and seems to want his energy policies decided by children like Greta Thunberg who now little or nothing about the subject.

    No thanks, we need someone who understands economics, psephology, game theory, science, business, logic and the voters. An election winner, a tax and red tape cutter who goes for a real Brexit, small government and cheap energy. Freedom to choose how people invest and spend their own money please.

    Conservative Woman gave these figures is the EU elections were repeated at a general election.

    Brexit 463, Labour 77, SNP 56, Libdim 30, Grean 1, Con & UKIP 0

    Surely it is obvious the Con party needs to become a Brexit/Con Party. But no almost all of the would be leaders are continuation May with the same duff compass.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 29, 2019

      I personally went to a northern state grammar school and my children have attended both state and private schools. Killing off private schools in this way would be an appalling act of vandalism. It would damage the economy hugely, kill a solid export industry that employs many thousands and would cost the tax payer a net fortune too.

      The lefty ‘politics of envy’ driving standards down for everyone as usual and costing taxpayer far more in the process. Killing freedom and choice. We expect this of Labour not of sensible would be Conservative leaders.

      We should be encouraging more and more people to use private schools (and also medical care) with education vouchers and sensible tax breaks to reduce the burden on state schools and state health care system.

      1. Know-Dice
        May 29, 2019

        Worth mentioning, those that opt for private education don’t get any tax relief or rebate for their contribution to the state sector – i.e they pay twice…

        The only nod to any financial help in that sector is that private schools can register as a charity…and we know that Mr Gove wanted to stop that.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 29, 2019

          Three times really as to pay the fees they also have to pay the tax on the extra money they need to earn to pay the school fees. With health care four times as there is also 12% insurance tax on insurance (thanks to Hammond). Gove wanted VAT on school fees too!

          1. rose
            May 29, 2019

            Funnily enough I voted to stay in in 1975 because at that time two of the three parties wanted to abolish independent education. I valued it so much – for the health of the whole country – that I calculated the Common Market and ECHR, or whatever it was then, might help to preserve it. (I also thought it was a very left wing set up here altogether and the Common Market might put a brake on that too.)

      2. percy openshaw
        May 29, 2019

        Well said. Gove is a turncoat – on several occasions and in several ways. NO to Gove.

    2. jerry
      May 29, 2019

      @LL; “energy policies decided by children [..//..] who now little or nothing about the subject.”

      That’s a bit unfair Lifelogic, after these children know as much as the teachers who have told them what to think!…

      1. Lifelogic
        May 29, 2019

        No many decent science & maths teachers in schools alas as they can earn rather more elsewhere. Also it is not very appealing to them to have to teach bogus climate alarmist “science” when many know better.

      2. Timaction
        May 29, 2019

        Indeed. About time the teachers told them “how” to think not “what” to think. Those of us of a particular age know the difference!

        1. jerry
          May 31, 2019

          @Timaction; Totally agree, but the “what” to teach trait has been used by both left and right, remember second 28, for example?

    3. Neil
      May 29, 2019

      “Real Brexit, small government and cheap energy. Freedom to choose how people invest and spend their own money please”. There is a political party advocating all of that – UKIP. Of course the relentless establishment, MSM and Brexit party smear campaign has all but killed them off. Welcome to any new boss, Same as the old boss.

    4. Narrow Shoulders
      May 29, 2019

      Brexit 463, Labour 77, SNP 56, Libdim 30, Grean 1, Con & UKIP 0

      Simplistic at best, poor data set to be used by a STEM advocate

      1. Lifelogic
        May 29, 2019

        The figures are from Conservative Woman – Clearly people are unlikely to vote the same in a first past the post system which encourages tactical voting & favours the most popular parties.

        But then the most popular parties are Brexit (by some distance) and then Labour then SNP. The “Real Brexit Conservatives” is the only way for the party to go. That or die.

        1. Timaction
          May 29, 2019

          Indeed. Most of them haven’t figured that out …………..yet! Change to real conservatives or die!

      2. Mark
        May 29, 2019

        Perhaps a better bellwether is that TBP would get a majority of about 20 with 25%, Lib Dem 18%, Con 17%, Lab 16% and Green 12%, which isn’t so far away from current Westminster voting intentions, based on the Electoral Calculus model.

    5. Anonymous
      May 29, 2019

      Con 0

      That’s what listening to the BBC and not your core voters gets you.

  5. Ian wragg
    May 29, 2019


  6. Mark B
    May 29, 2019

    Good morning

    Michael Gove MP: Intelligent, talented, hard working and a great orator. But wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw the Palace of Westminster. Too much of the Brutus about the man.

    His wish to curb plastic waste is generally popular.

    Yes I am sure that he is very popular with implementing EU Directives


    Bring on the next one, this one’s broke.

    1. Mark
      May 29, 2019

      Much more scheming than Brutus. Try Iago.

  7. Adam
    May 29, 2019

    As Michael Gove virtually caused Theresa May’s premiership & promoted her Withdrawal Agreement he deserves to be Prime Minister of somewhere like Tristan da Cunha. He may be intelligent in some way but in others he is odd & backward.

    1. Fred H
      May 29, 2019

      Adam…..but I think his wife and children love him.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    May 29, 2019

    Dear Sir John–The appallimg position we are in is entirely Gove’s fault–Apart from his correctness or otherwise on Boris his sense of timing or lack thereof was beyond belief –Who does he think he is, abusing the position he was in and what should have been his loyalty to Boris? And if that weren’t enough he has managed to position himself as a fan of what would be the worst agreement in history. I think he is a self-serving creep and I think the country agrees with me.

    1. Dennisa
      May 29, 2019

      “his sense of timing or lack thereof ” I think his timing was perfect, he wanted Theresa May as PM. He has played a long game under a false flag.

  9. Frances Truscott
    May 29, 2019

    Raising standards was chasing the tiger economies. The inevitable corollary was that it resulted in crushing the mental health of students. The latest reforms will make it even worse. My daughter was in the first cohort to be tested from the time she entered school.
    She is fine a great many young people she knows are not fine at all .

  10. Frances Truscott
    May 29, 2019

    The tiger economies have wretched mental health in kids and adults. Chasing their standards was utterly stupid. And lo our children’s mental health and well-being has got spectacularly worse because they are tested all the time and schools have to score on tables.
    What we want is happy eager adaptable people who will be able to change their jobs when needed throughout their lifetimes.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 29, 2019

      Where is your evidence that places like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have significantly higher mental health problems?

    2. Anonymous
      May 29, 2019

      A good grounding in the three Rs. A bit of un-politicised history and a language. Is that too much to ask of 14 years in the education system ? Sadly lacking.

      At the end of it no stigma in NOT going to university. Most people are unsuited to it but the entire push throughout my children’s education was university, which was OK for them but has left their friends – who weren’t suited – with serious social problems.

    3. graham1946
      May 29, 2019

      60 years ago, we didn’t have SATS, twice in 6 years. We had tests (not called SATS then of course), every term to assess how pupils were doing. At secondary school we had homework and when we went on to 5th and 6th form we did evening classes as well. The days were longer, staring at 9 a.m. and finishing at 4 pm. Most seem to be on the streets now by 3.05 p.m.

      Everyone I know in my age group and even older can read and write and do arithmetic. When I was trying to employ a school leaver a few years ago I had to interview about 20 before I could find one to do that basic stuff. They may learn more complicated stuff now, but it does not seem to fit them for life. When they get to work they will discover what life is like. Wrapping them in cotton wool does them no favours. They will not be able to change jobs as you suggest, unless they can do basic things and prove it.

      1. libertarian
        May 29, 2019

        graham 1946

        So far this year the 1,000 th A level student has been through my free introduction to the world of work programme that I run in local schools. You couldn’t be more wrong about Gen Z if you tried. On the whole this generation value freedom, hardwork, entrepreneurialism , innovation and they possess lots of highly employable talent.

        Our outdated 1950’s style school system is the thing that holds them back

        Hopefully the new T levels coming on stream in 2020 in which students have to complete 45 days per year work experience will actually let employers see what talent is available

  11. agricola
    May 29, 2019

    As you say, a man of intelligence, but also one lacking direction. A man of few scruples, a modern day Brutus in fact. He has extended himsef to the point that he would have a problem selling snake oil. By all means give him a ministerial post that fully tasks him with redirecting a failed department and be sure he is long enough there to achieve it, but make sure his brief is well defined.

    Definitely not fit to be a future Prime Minister where a sensitivity to the future history of the UK and inherent integrity are essensuals. His mistakes were less forgivable than his rivals pecadiloes.

    1. jerry
      May 29, 2019

      @agricola; “By all means give him a ministerial post that fully tasks him with redirecting a failed department “

      But that jobs falls to his successor…

    2. Dennis Zoff
      May 29, 2019


      ……As you say, a man of intelligence…..

      By who’s definition is Gove considered intellegent….and why is this so?

      In which way is he, or any other Political nondescript, considered intelligent?

      What is the measure of their intelligence? Just some simple practical examples would suffice?

  12. Dominic
    May 29, 2019

    An appalling candidate without principle. No fire. No anger.

    We need a neo-Thatcher at the helm not another Heath character

    I want to see a conviction politician on a mission with anger in their belly prepared to confront, fight and undermine the EU and all that is left-wing and Marxist in the UK including Labour, their client state (including the BBC) and cultural Marxism

    I want my freedoms back. Gove is part of a government that’s taken away from right to freedom of expression

    Utterly repellent in his hypocrisy

    1. Lifelogic
      May 29, 2019

      I agree, as it seems do the voters.

    2. sm
      May 29, 2019

      Dominic, I agree with you, but what is also needed at this current disastrous time is someone with a staunch personality and sufficient self-belief to impose his/her will on the overwhelming majority of Tory MPs.

      I have, in past years, personally encountered some of the current contenders, so my view is that neither Johnson, Gove nor Hunt have the required aura of charisma/authority to sweep all before them, whether one agrees with their Brexit and other policy views or not.

    3. Ian
      May 29, 2019

      Dominic “I want to see a conviction politician on a mission” – perfect. But at the moment they are hiding

    4. jerry
      May 29, 2019

      @Dominic; “We need a neo-Thatcher at the helm not another Heath character”

      Both would be totally unacceptable to the general electorate. Can some please remember that a candidate needs to be an acceptable PM to the wider public, not just an acceptable leader to the party membership.

      1. sm
        May 29, 2019

        There is – and never will be – one person who will be acceptable to virtually all the electorate, AND the Party membership AND Members of Parliament.

      2. Dominic
        May 29, 2019


        We have a Marxist opposition front bench packed with Anti-Semites and supporters of extremism. I take it that’s acceptable is it? Thatcher was a pussycat compared to the odious Corbyn and McDonnell

        Not one single Labour party member has been prosecuted under Hate Crime legislation. Why? They are vehement in their hatred of Israel and of the Jews. Labour’s client state is protecting their own and the Tories are silent about this disgraceful travesty

        Let me tell you something. The authorities refuse to demonise Corbyn and his vile band of followers simply because they need Labour as the main oppositon party to circumvent. It’s all about maintaining that status quo in the Commons. It stinks what we are seeing and the spineless Tories are clueless about how to confront this collectivist virus

        The Tories could destroy Labour tomorrow if they wanted too

        1. jerry
          May 29, 2019

          @Dominic; Than you for your opinion, as utterly disconnected from reality as it is.

  13. jerry
    May 29, 2019

    For me Michael Gove is a non starter due to his backing of the Greens agenda, not to mention there being a cloud over his time at both Education and Justice! Then of course one does have to ask, has enough grass-roots members forgiven him for his actions during the last leadership election.

    From what I read and hear he seems a bit of the ‘Marmite’ option for the agriculture, fishing and food processing industry, some love him, others hate him. For me his stance on certain farming practises is more about playing to the populist gallery than being based on any scientific fact, but he then tries to cloak his ideas and decisions as if based on science.

    If I had to sum up my impressions of the man; A careerist technocrat who doesn’t (always) understand his brief(s), thus to reliant on technocrat advisor’s. A singularly most unsuitable candidate in my opinion!

    Sorry, but you did ask….

    1. Know-Dice
      May 29, 2019

      @Jerry, in a “nut shell” agreed.

      Damaged goods…

    2. Anonymous
      May 29, 2019

      The Greens want us to stay in the EU so we can get richer – meaning we can consume more.


  14. Lifelogic
    May 29, 2019

    James Cleverly yet another to join the race I hear. No thank you very much, he is not up to it and has a broken compass yet again.

    Though he did once tweet:- “We may be coalition partners but it doesn’t stop me thinking Simon Hughes is a d***.

    So he is not always wrong. I am sure he must have meant to type dope.

  15. David in Kent
    May 29, 2019

    I was a fan of Gove on the grounds that he was an adopted child who made good and took on the education ‘blob’ with some success. However, like other commenters, I don’t trust him for his tendency to switch sides for ‘tactical’ reasons. I also find repellent his jumping on the ‘green’ bandwagon in an undiscriminating way. I think he is just wrong about modern wood stoves and suspect he may be so about other green matters. It also puzzles me how any intelligent person can be a supporter of the Barnier deal.

  16. Trainspotter
    May 29, 2019

    Sir John, It will be the final nail in the Conservative coffin.

  17. Bryan Harris
    May 29, 2019

    Gove prefers to sit on the fence and often changes his viewpoint – He lacks passion, but how he put the knife into Boris defines him more completely as someone not to be trusted.
    One gets the impression he could be a rumour spreader, working behind the backs of others.
    As for his policies, from the fence, it is hard to say how much he wants a true Brexit, and I fear he would be compromiser – Which is probably not a nice thing to say, but our politics have been defined in this way for far too long. We want someone who knows instinctively the path forward for the important issues.
    Overall, He comes across as weak and not a suitable Tory leader

  18. Christine
    May 29, 2019

    IMHO Michael Gove is entirely without principle. He appears to be extremely ambitious with the encouragement of his wife but in reality has done more harm than good in his various ministerial roles (see comments above, particularly re. education and ‘green’ policies). He will do and say whatever he thinks will please the electorate but in truth has no idea how unpopular or ridiculous his policy proposals are, just one example being offering free British nationality to EU nationals. Really? Is that the best he can come up with?

    He has been summed up by earlier contributors to the blog as untrustworthy and a modern day Brutus. So true!

  19. Lifelogic
    May 29, 2019

    Hancock (PPE yet again) is being a total dope today too with his “F. F. business”. Boris was on about vested interests, crony businesses that want to kill residual UK democracy and endlessly push for more EU as they want more EU rules & red tape to kill smaller competition and gain an artificial competitive advantage. Many of whom are members of the CBI.

    Boris is rather pro business.

  20. Julian
    May 29, 2019

    Yet another Westminster disappointment who can’t get on top of his current brief properly before trying to move up the greasy pole. His failure to protect our fishing, lobster and scallop grounds from outright thefts by French trawlers is a disgrace.

    1. Alison
      May 29, 2019

      Well said, Julian. Failing to protect them was wicked,weak, misguided and unpatriotic.
      As with most comments, I would not trust Mr Gove further than I could throw him (which, I confess, I would quite like to do).

  21. Ian Wilson
    May 29, 2019

    A most unsuitable prospective prime minister. He has been utterly nobbled by the Green Blob and will assuredly embrace their disastrous policies of expensive and unreliable energy. His edicts on phasing out diesel and petrol cars have certainly hit the car industry and he appears not to have thought out where the generating capacity will come from for the millions of electric cars he desires.
    When will our leaders realise that climate change is a minor issue hyped up by vested interests?

  22. Simeon
    May 29, 2019

    There is some ‘working out’ to do with Gove, but the final answer is that he would be eaten alive by Farage.

    Unlike Johnson, he was a believer in Brexit, and I think it is clear that his decision to campaign to leave was a principled one, rather than a self – serving calculation. But his actions since call into question what he actually believed Brexit to be. Certainly his support for May and her WA are not indicative of a man who understands the nature of the issue, and what therefore is required.

    His betrayal of Boris was poor – though better late than never. That Johnson could conceivably become PM is absurd; that he seems likely to would be horrifying, or would be if an awful situation could be made worse. As it is, all he’ll be doing is ushering in the Brexit party era.

    Gove is a man sorely lacking in judgement and character. He’s not fit to be a parish councillor.

  23. William1995
    May 29, 2019

    Gove is the most intelligent of those running and by far the best debator. He would wipe the floor with Corbyn and be able to take Farage head on in a debate – two crucial abilities needed of the next PM if we are to avoid a Marxist government. Listening to his interviews eg the recent one with Nick Robinson, I do think that he is sincere in his politics. As you say, he boldly reforms all departments he goes into, which is a great sign of a leader with vision; exactly what we need right now. He is also the candidate most able to ‘reunite’ the party, as difficult as that may seem right now; he has a lot of experience in controversy and is immensely good at making an argument. He is seen as a sane voice by those who voted Remain and, at least during the referendum when he was free to make his own arguments without the shackles of cabinet collective responsibility, a great proponent of Leave by many brexiteers.

    Whether or not he voted for the withdrawal agreement is irrelevant to me. The main thing I would like to know is will Mr Gove take us out on 31 October deal or no deal. Will he now go full steam ahead in no deal preparations and offer an exciting vision for Brexit. If the answer is yes, then as well as the above praise, I would be likely to vote for him for two (obvious) reasons:

    1) Going ahead with no deal is the only way the EU would even consider reopening the WA (I also think they would be more inclined to negotiate with Gove than eg Boris, Baker etc)

    2) Even if Gove brings back a shoddy deal, if MPs reject it, he will take us out of the EU, and I think that if Gove commits to this, he is actually more likely to carry it through than Boris.. This is now crucial if the Conservatives are to stand a chance in the net GE

    Having said all that, a big deciding factor will be who Sir John decides to back!

  24. John Sheridan
    May 29, 2019

    “I would be interested to hear the case for Mr Gove from those who do want him to be Prime Minister.”

    Under Mrs May, Gove has transformed from a person who believes in the UK forging its own destiny to one who wishes to stay tied to the EU. I’m not sure whether his change of heart is related to his ambition to be PM or to a genuine change in his beliefs. Either way, I shall not be voting for him in the membership ballot.

  25. MickN
    May 29, 2019

    He is my MP who I have voted for enthusiastically in the past. I thought he was doing a good job when his brief was education.
    He is a square peg in a round hole in the environment role – a role the Owen Patterson was cut out for.
    Had he not stabbed Boris in the back we would have been out of the Eu by now.
    He backed May’s awful surrender treaty whereas had he had anything about him he could have been instrumental in bringing it and her down earlier (she is still in place for God’s sake !!)
    I will never vote for him ever again and indeed would vote if I could to end his tenure.
    He represents all that is wrong with the party that I have supported all my voting life until now and for a long time been a member of.
    I don’t single him out particularly. The Tories, if they are to survive, must have as their next leader someone who genuinely believes in Brexit and is prepared to remove from cabinet all of the dissenting voices who wish to deny democracy. I’m afraid after round 3 of the voting Messrs Rees-Mogg and Johnson have lost credibility in my eyes.
    It needs someone solid from the ERG such as yourself, but I am afraid that you would not get the support. Maybe Chancellor is your future.
    The problem is that most of the candidates seem to want to “bring the country together”
    Brexit is such a devisive issue that it can never happen. We need a strong leader that can push on with what the winners of the referendum voted for and stop trying to please everyone. It will never work.

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    May 29, 2019

    Dreadful. Untrustworthy and duplicitous.
    The longer this goes on the less support you will have for your party as people see what a paucity of talent is vying to satisfy their own egos.

  27. Julie Williams
    May 29, 2019

    No way: apart from not being able to trust him an inch, some of his education policies (free schools, for example) were terrible and his recent fawning over “Greta” was sick-making.

    1. John Sheridan
      May 29, 2019

      “…his recent fawning over “Greta” was sick-making.”

      I agree. So many MPs adopted the same attitude.

  28. Shieldsman
    May 29, 2019

    Voted for the Withdrawal Agreement three times, cannot understand the simple fact it is not a deal. In the negotiations that could go on forever we would not regain control of our Territorial Waters.
    A man with no pride in his Country and not to be trusted,

  29. J Bush
    May 29, 2019

    I don’t doubt he is capable, but that does not necessarily mean these ‘capabilities’ are used for the benefit of the UK, its businesses and peoples.

    I have recently retired. My last employment was with the RPA. I would agree Gove has an impact on departments he has been responsible for. However, that is not to say his impact is always positive.

    Some of his initiatives that filter down defy common sense and logic. For example, farmers must grow more trees and at least 5% of farmland must be PG01, rather than crops. How very environmentally friendly and commendable some would say. However, the other side of the coin is that this initiative does also make rather easier to get round green belt issues for housing development. As building on land that is used to feed the Nation would cause an outcry, would it not?

    After slavishly supporting May’s disgusting vassal State treaty, he comes across as someone who likes the trappings of a high ministerial office (the cabinet) and if democracy gets in the way, what the hell, he can make an eloquent speech and divert peoples attention with his intelligence, away from his insidious actions.

    Sufficee it to say I do not trust him.

  30. Cheshire Girl
    May 29, 2019

    I dont like the fact that he is already ‘pledging ‘things to EU citizens already here.

    I dont like these ‘pledges’. All too often they are quietly dropped when the person who made them, is elected.

  31. A.Sedgwick
    May 29, 2019

    Vacillation 1
    Deserting Cameron who was unhappy/surprised at his supporting Leave.
    Vacillation 2
    Deserting Johnson when his personality and foibles must have been well known at the outset.
    Vacillation 3
    Supporting May to the end.

    Any minister in May’s cabinet at the end is unsuitable to lead our exit.

  32. Narrow Shoulders
    May 29, 2019

    Michael Gove is a highly intelligent man and an engaging speaker. I always enjoy his contributions to interviews and debates.

    He does however give the impression that he jumps on bandwagons without being a conviction politician. That said if he decided that leaving the EU on WTO terms was the best way forward he would be able to articulate it well and take on those who disagree. He is also ruthless enough to make it happen. He is unlikely to settle for the pragmatic approach. He will choose a side and drive it through.

    Personally he would not inspire loyalty in me if I had to serve under him but he would have my grudging admiration.

  33. Alan Jutson
    May 29, 2019

    Years ago perhaps, but afraid over the last 4 years he has shown he is not to be trusted, just ask Cameron and Boris.

    Tried to redeem himself by foolishly supporting Mrs May and her Surrender Document or WA 3 times, a gross error of judgement.

    Energetic yes, but yet another MP who does not understand Human nature, and as such makes rather too many crass statements.

  34. formula57
    May 29, 2019

    Mr. Gove’s candidacy is, alongside others, a standing rebuke to the entire Conservative Party for to permit it shows they have learned nothing from Mrs. May’s demise.

    Through continuing to serve in her Cabinet, Mr. Gove showed he was with her and not with the people.

  35. Iain Gill
    May 29, 2019

    Well I am not in favour of Gove.

    I dont think any of the likely candidates are good enough.

    From a purely practical point of view Boris is the only one with the public profile able to start and win the public over. Although Boris has lots of faults too. I worry about the people he would surround himself with once in the Downing Street bunker.

    If the Conservatives had any sense they would do a deal with the Brexit party.

    1. Iain Moore
      May 29, 2019

      Does Boris have a plan, does he think any further forward than next week?

    2. Tweeter_L
      May 29, 2019

      Indeed. Another question I would want to ask any candidate is “Will you be willing to work with the Brexit Party?” If the answer is negative or “nuanced”, then that person I’d not a good choice for PM.

      1. Tweeter_L
        May 29, 2019

        …. autocorrect, darn it!! “That person is not a good choice for PM”

  36. Edwardm
    May 29, 2019

    Since the Referendum Gove has proven to be unprincipled and mistaken, especially in his support of TM and the WA. His knifing of BJ has had terrible consequences. He is a failed personality.
    He would be a disastrous choice for PM. He should not be in the cabinet either.

  37. Oggy
    May 29, 2019

    Gove is untrustworthy after what he did to Boris and gave us May.

    No thanks.

  38. Oggy
    May 29, 2019

    How about Bercow for PM as he is already behaves as if he is.

    1. Fred H
      May 29, 2019

      Oggy….plus he would probably reduce the H of C by about 400, which I am in favour of. He might decide he knows better than most of the MPs, possibly true. Having accomplished that mission we might get rid of that self-serving wanna-be actor.

  39. Iain Moore
    May 29, 2019

    He stabbed Boris in the back.
    He supported May’s appalling Withdrawal treaty.
    He would happily give our energy policy over to Greta Thunberg.
    He also wants to give 3 million EU migrants British citizenship without bothering to check if they should have that right.

    Gove may be a very slick wordsmith , but strategically he has a tendency to concede to metropolitan populism which would economically damage the country and really not very conservative, as we saw with him fawning over Greta Thunberg, and wanting to give away free British citizenship.

  40. George Brooks
    May 29, 2019

    What Tiler has put it in a nut shell, he is totally untrustworthy.

    At the start of Brexit he gave his unrelenting support to our fishermen, saying that the EU was to blame for the closure of his family’s business and we must break free of the EU to save the industry.

    Then when Chequers and the WA came on the scene his resolve and support completely evaporated as he saw the opportunity to put his knee pads on once again to crawl up the political rock face. In supporting the WA he was prepared to sacrifice our fishing industry and put it in a worse position than it is under our present membership.

    Talking of ‘crawlers’ Rory Stewart out performs Gove and made a flying start when he came out in support of the WA and got his reward when Williamson was pushed out of the cabinet. The truth will out one day and it has all the signs of some leaky engineering!!!

  41. Anthony
    May 29, 2019

    He’s bright and he’s ruthless. We’ll need a bit of that in the coming months.

    He’s prepared to shake things up. Our economy is run as a sort of oligarchy, or at least gives that impression, and Gove would be prepared to address that even in the face of vehement criticism from vested interests.

    Similarly on housing, he’s sharp enough to see where the problems are and what can be done and then ruthless enough to do it. It might upset the housing lobby and some NIMBY’s (possibly including me!) but at least has a chance of getting stuff done.

  42. Nicholas Murphy
    May 29, 2019

    He did a great job in the referendum campaign but has gone wet since and I cannot support his idea on dishing-out free citizenships. He is, however, someone who is ideal to lead Conservative Environmental policy. The Conservatives have a good story to tell and it’s one that can enable connections with the young uns.

  43. ChasE
    May 29, 2019

    There’s only one thing sure about the rat race- ‘a rat will always win’

  44. Fred H
    May 29, 2019

    If you want to continue the slide into obscurity back Gove.
    As his wife Sarah is reported to say ‘Michael, I know, has never felt that way for one single second. His Euroscepticism is as deeply ingrained in him as his love of the United Kingdom. And while he is wary of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, he is equally determined that Britain will, one way or another, leave the EU.

    Like all husbands, Michael has his flaws: a fondness for corduroy, an inability to go anywhere (including dinner) without a book, a passion for Wagnerian opera, an obsession with Strictly, an entirely irrational dislike of houseplants and, of course, the usual pathological male inability to operate a dishwasher.’

    Plus failing a driving test 6 times ….

  45. James Bertram
    May 29, 2019

    The only positive reason to have Mr Gove as Conservative PM would be so as to increase support for The Brexit Party – and the likelihood that the 28 true Tories finally, and not before time, would abandon their party and join the Brexit Party.

  46. Sakara Gold
    May 29, 2019

    I like Michael Gove in spite of his occasional wobbling on climate change – he once sat on the fringe of the Brexit climate denier network and was/is close friends with Breitbart’s climate science denialist reporter James Delingpole

    He has been an effective envirionment minister (to the suprise of many), handing a delighted green lobby lots of quick wins – banning products with microbeads, pesticides that harm bees and sales of ivory products; installing CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses and reintroducing beavers.

    He is known for being untrustworthy in his relationships with other Tory leadership hopefulls and has a ruthless streak – his knifing of Boris Johnson looks rather different with hindsight; many influential Tories now share Gove’s 2016 judgement and think Johnson would be as disastrous a PM as he was Foreign Secretary.

    Gove has plenty of ministerial experience:- Shadow Minister for Housing from 2005 to 2007 and Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from 2007 to 2010. He was appointed Secretary of State for Education in May 2010. From July 2014 to May 2015, he served as Government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. He was was appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on 10 May 2015 and Environment Minister in 2017.

    He has apparently changed his views on climate change, in a spectacular U-turn he said in Novenmber 2018 during a speech on UK government climate change projections;

    “Today, as we launch the fourth generation of our UK Climate Projections, it is clear that the planet and its weather patterns are changing before our eyes. Peer-reviewed scientific research states that the rapid warming is substantially due to the methane, nitrous oxide, and fossil fuel emissions we produce. The great ice sheets of Greenland and some parts of Antarctica are increasingly unstable. Rising seas are rendering the storm surges not only of hurricanes but also regular high tides more of a threat.”

    Clearly, he has done his homework on climate change. Failing Sir John entering the leadership fray, Gove would probably get my first-preference vote, but with a caveat – the 1922 Committee would need to keep a close eye on him.

    1. stred
      May 29, 2019

      Thanks for that quote. There has been no sudden rapid warming. Temperature has been rising at the same rate and the experts had to revise their calculations last year. Sea levels have been rising at the same rate as they were before CO2 increased. Ice in Antarctica is increasing.CO2 was at over 1000ppm in the past and are now closer to the danger zone when plants and animals will die out. Nitrous oxide has not been linked as important to the greenhouse effect. Water vapour and clouds are far more important. Who on Earth told him to write this garbage, his little autistic friend who can see CO2? If he believes this, then he is unsuitable for any place in government.

  47. Sir Joe Soap
    May 29, 2019

    “Nul points” so far then.
    In the current vernacular, “Random” is the best description. We need this man’s unpredictable behaviour like a hole in the head.
    Even May was at least predictable in making every decision a wrong one.

  48. AndyC
    May 29, 2019

    I’d say that his actions since 2016 disqualify him from high office.

  49. Stuart
    May 29, 2019

    Good morning,

    When David Cameron deserted his post in 2016, I thought that Michael Gove was the best candidate to replace him, based on what he was saying. It has since become obvious that he has few principles, selling out as he did. I would not be able to vote for a Conservative party of which he was leader. Indeed, it would stick in the craw to vote Conservative if the chosen leader had voted for Mrs. May’s Withdrawal Agreement. In this matter, several of the candidates disappoint. Unless something remarkable happens, I would see no alternative other than to vote for the Brexit Party at the next general election, if true Brexit is not delivered before then.

  50. Newmania
    May 29, 2019

    Has already annoyed everyone

  51. oldwulf
    May 29, 2019

    To my mind, Mr Gove is far too tainted.

    1. PeterM
      May 29, 2019

      as obviously ABdPJ is not …

      1. oldwulf
        May 29, 2019

        PeterM. Our host asked for comments on Mr Gove

        The others will have to await their turn.

  52. Jiminyjim
    May 29, 2019

    When you listen to the array of candidates for PM spouting meaningless nonsense, it is becoming clearer by the day that the higher echelons of the Conservative Party have learned absolutely nothing.
    You have asked about Michael Gove. The trail of devastation he has left behind him in several government departments is there for anyone to see.
    But the most damning thing, which makes him completely unacceptable, is that he has no principles, no values and no morals. MG has always done what he thinks is best for him. What do you say about a man who, having in cold blood buried the man he was supporting as leader last time, has also supported the worst PM of my lifetime and supported the dreadful surrender treaty through all the nonsense of the last couple of years. He is worse than everyone other than Rory Stewart. Please do not consider supporting him for a second, JR!

  53. Ian
    May 29, 2019

    Without knowing Gove personally, his known actions and opinions show him to be duplicitous and never trusted by anyone.

    Mr Gove’s view of the WA treaty as with many of his colleagues with a similar interpretation, in a way says it all.

    I don’t envy your task of voting for any of your colleagues, they do give the appearance that they say what they believe the audience wants to hear. Then like Mrs May do something entirely different once selected. For us common folk we call that lying.
    As yet there is no way Brexit will happen in this parliament – the forces against it are overwhelming. A GE is needed but will in all probability will take us ways we don’t want to go. Parliament has become a busted flush, too many involved (half the number MP’s would be better), too many egos, too many agendas. The EU system of power, control and government has tainted them all.

    An illustration would be as in the US, Trump got elected not because he was the right man for the job, but because he is not the Establishment. We are seeing this desire in the UK now, but there is no formal way to in act it.

    The Conservative Party needs to become a conservative party again. We need someone like yourself to stand, but the party in parliament is 75% Liberals who should not pretend they are Tory. That GE again.

    In essence it will be a case of voting tacitly to get the right person on the list for the membership to take over and move things on. As was said yesterday the list of 2 should be a list of 4

  54. Original Richard
    May 29, 2019

    Mr. Gove is a remainer in leaver’s clothing.

    He joined the leave campaign because he thought that whilst remain would win his support of leave would stand him in good stead with the Conservative Party membership and lead to becoming PM.

    When leave won, he ensured that a remainer, Mrs. May, rather than a leaver, Mr. Johnson, would become PM and has always supported Mrs. May’s surrender WA – the one where we accept EU laws, budgets, taxes, fines and policies (trade, energy, environment, foreign etc) but without representation or veto and with no lawful means of exit – the one described by Mr. Vehofstadt’s assistants as reducing the UK to EU colony status.

    The Brexit Party would be delighted to see Mr. Gove as PM.

    1. Original Richard
      May 29, 2019

      I am expecting the Conservative party MPs to put forward to the membership for final selection the fake leaver Mr. Gove and another remainer such as Mr. Hunt, Mr. Javid or Mr. Hancock or similar.

      So the Conservative Party membership will be offered only those who have voted consistently for Mrs. May’s surrender treaty.

      A recipe for electoral disaster.

  55. Andrew S
    May 29, 2019

    Gove is a backstabbing weasel, not a true brexit believer. He rolls with the tide, is only interested in his political career. Thought he knew about education just because he went to a posh school. No practical experience of business, industry or finance. The Brexit public I imagine can’t stand the sight or sound of him. Tory party will indeed and rightly be annihilated if Gove, Javid, Hunt, Stewart (ha got to be kidding right?), Rudd or any remoaner gets to be PM. Whoever does has to basically force a no deal through by whatever means.
    Brexit will finally be delivered by a coalition of Brexiteer Tories, DUP and Brexit party in parliament. This after a general election resulting in massive losses of tory seats to Brexit Party, and many Labour losses to Brexit and LDems.

  56. Kevin
    May 29, 2019

    That you should seek the views of Mr. Gove’s supporters, or indeed
    of supporters of any MP who voted for the Withdrawal Agreement, displays the
    magnanimity of a true gentleman. The Almighty was fully apprised of the
    murder of Abel, yet still granted Cain an opportunity to be heard. By all means,
    you should listen to Mr. Gove before handing him his walking papers.

  57. Stred
    May 29, 2019

    If it would be possible to find a more dishonest and foolish person in politics to replace Theresa May, it would be Michael Gove.

  58. Richard1
    May 29, 2019

    I take a much more positive view of Mr Gove than others posting here. He is the most articulate member of the cabinet, and (usually) is a voice for sound and even radical free market policies. He was the driving force behind the most successful policy of the coalition / Conservative govt – the education reforms. The education blob may not like him, but many teachers (privately) respect what he did, as do many parents. Mr Gove has made an impact in whichever dept he has been in. By compariso, who remembers anything Nicky Morgan or Damian Hinds has done or said about education?

    In terms of brexit, what swung it was Boris and Gove backing leave. Had they gone the other way remain would have won. I do not think his apparent equivocation on Brexit should be seen as negative. Having been a floating voter at the referendum myself I can understand there were good arguments on both sides – and bad ones. I also think his backing of Mrs May’s terrible deal was driven by a desire to bend over backwards not to be seen to have frustrated brexit twice!

    I will most likely vote for Michael Gove if he’s in the last two. Imagine a debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Michael Gove!

    1. Julie Dyson
      May 29, 2019

      Damn, I had to scroll a long way down to find one!

      Thanks for presenting the opposing argument, Richard. You do make some interesting and perfectly valid points… I’m just not sure it’s enough to overcome such an overwhelmingly strong, if not intense, general dislike and distrust of the man — at least where a future PM is concerned and given the trouble our country is in.

      1. Richard1
        May 29, 2019

        Unfortunately you may be right. Raab might be a possible substitute if so. What really matters & what I hope MPs will really focus on as dispassionately as they can is who is best placed to beat Corbyn. Corbyn and his gang are by far the biggest threat to our Country.

  59. Wessexboy
    May 29, 2019

    Surely you want to win the next General Election, as well as get out of the EU? Gove has absolutely no chance.
    Whoever wins must be prepared to leave on WTO terms in order to try to get a free trade deal. They should also have sufficient charisma to appeal to the floating voter.
    Boris managed to win London over….

  60. Yorkie
    May 29, 2019

    The tiny offices of both Mr Gove and Mr Speaker are guddens aren’t they.

  61. oldwulf
    May 29, 2019

    For the forthcoming TV debates .. I would expect the anti Brexit candidates to be happy to appear on the BBC (or whatever).

    If they have any sense, I would expect the pro Brexit candidates to steer well clear.

  62. Roy Grainger
    May 29, 2019

    Gove lacks leadership qualities and is toxic to many swing voters as he was (unfairly) tainted by his work at Education. Same as Hunt is forever tainted by his time at Health, also unfairly. Gove should certainly be put in change of a major department though, Home Office maybe, just in the interim until the next election when the Conservatives will enter permanent opposition.

    1. Tweeter_L
      May 29, 2019

      Roy G: I must say I agree with every point you make here.

    2. rose
      May 29, 2019

      I would put him in the HO too. It needs a thorough overhauling and he could do that.

    3. graham1946
      May 29, 2019

      Hunt wasn’t unfairly tainted at Health – he was useless. Unless you mean that he managed decline very well to the poor thing we have now.

  63. ukretired123
    May 29, 2019

    Gove is certainly talented with some excellent skills and as they say “Should go far!”
    The further the better!
    Like many today he is an opportunistic and vain individual and his timing of knife crime is worthy of a Shakespearean classic Machiavelli the Dark Prince.
    On TV Running to the shop to buy the Sunday Papers to read about himself …..
    Says it all.

  64. libertarian
    May 29, 2019

    Gove shouldn’t be an MP let alone PM

    Two faced political greaser, virtue signaller and anti small business.

    If the Tories pick Gove then you will be wiped out at the next GE

  65. Freeborn John
    May 29, 2019

    After the referendum I thought Gove was the best candidate to be leader. During the Cameron era he was very good at devising policy and the parts of the manifesto related to his brief were clearly much more detailed than all other areas.

    However I would not trust him now. By running against Johnson he allowed May in to become the worst and most incompetent PM in recorded history. He did not resign from her cabinet supporting BINO. And BINO is still what he is offering. It could be he makes it to the final two but so long as there is a real eurosceptic (only Ester McVey, Dominic Raab or Boris Johnson meet my criteria) then Gove will definitely lose. His role right now is the Great hope of Remainers trying to stop an actual Brexit. Let them worry about Gove but top priority of eurosceptic s has to be ensuring that one of Raab, Johnson or McVey gets into the final two. Heads must be bashed together if necessary so that at least 1/3 of the CPP unites around one of them.

  66. Gareth Warren
    May 29, 2019

    I would not favour him, while he is an intelligent and capable minister he has clearly well earned a reputation for being duplicitous and not trustworthy.

    I believe he might well realize there is no path to GE victory that does not implement a no-deal brexit, but then likely to tie us back in later with further negotiations. He also lacks that charisma that the next conservative leader will need to succeed despite the mainstream media being against him.

    There was a hint from Tom Tugendhat (his supporter) that he was a temporary choice too, here with Goves behaviour towards Boris I shudder to think what he would do if that hint was true.

    I lastly would expect any candidate to set out clearly what they would do on brexit, ambiguity here is not an option.

  67. LondonBob
    May 29, 2019

    The guy is neocon ……….. and would have us in several wars in the Middle East before the year is up. I would vote Corbyn as the patriotic option against this guy.

    He is also deeply unpopular with the public at large.

  68. John Probert
    May 29, 2019

    Not to be trusted and would flip to remain if it suited him
    Not a true Brexiter

  69. JoolsB
    May 29, 2019

    Gove the backstabber who denied us Boris who would have taken us out of the EU by now. Gove the so called Brexiteer who has consistently supported May and her rotten surrender treaty each and every time and would no doubt vote for it a fourth time if he could. Another deluded politician who has ignored the wishes of 17.4 million people many of whom are Tory voters. I do not trust Gove and if he should become May’s replacement, then I will be voting for the Brexit party from now on. In fact unless we get a true Brexiteer as PM which excludes the majority of misfits currently standing, then I will definitely be giving my vote to Mr. Farage because the Tory party will be finished anyway.

  70. Freeborn John
    May 29, 2019

    It cannot be known yet if there will be a GE before Brexit. But if that does happen then it is hard to see the Conservatives winning without the endorsement of Nigel Farage. So the question for Boris, Johnson etc. has to be if they are willing to enter an electoral bargain with the Brexit Party in order to gather a wide coalition of voters to win the majority to push through Brexit?

    I think clearly Gove would not do a deal with Farage and whoever refuses and becomes PM will have blinked before Brussels. The EU will simply say the only offer on the table is May’s deal and will be PM in name only again unable to get the WA passed in the Commons. They will be forced to sit it out to 2022 when the Tories will be destroyed (even a formerly safe seat like Wokingham might go). The only route to survival for the Conservatives is to deliver Brexit in October. If the forces of Remain bring down the government in a no-confidences motion before October then you will need the endorsement of Farage to win that GE so you had better choose a leader now prepared to deal with him.

  71. Ian James
    May 29, 2019

    The case against Mr Gove

    1. He continues to support May’s deal, not even resigning in protest when others have
    2. His policies in Defra ultimately involve more state interference and more taxation – not very conservative principles
    3. He may be popular with party members but would go down very poorly in the country

    The case for Mr Gove

    1. His penchant for radical, reforming ideas is desperately needed in many areas
    2. He would take the political fight to Corbyn much better than Mrs May
    3. His strongly pro-American stance

    1. Fred H
      May 29, 2019


      The case against Mr Gove:
      1. He supported May’s dead parrot deal, not even resigning when others pronounced death 3 times.
      2. His policies include more state interference and more taxation, what chance growth?
      3. He may be popular with party members (is that good or bad?) but back-stabbing is not liked in the country.

      The case for Mr Gove:-
      1. His off the wall ideas might one day produce something of value.
      2. He would take the political fight to Corbyn much better than Mrs May (but who wouldn’t?)
      3. His wife (who writes stuff for the Daily Fail) and children love him.

  72. Nick CT
    May 29, 2019

    The long-standing “Tonto Philosophy” is appropriate – ‘Michael Gove? – he speak with forked-tongue’
    (That’s Tonto as in The Lone Ranger &….. !)

  73. John E
    May 29, 2019

    It would always be interesting to see what idea Mr. Gove wakes up with each morning but he could easily decide that Brexit is a bad idea after all and that we should make the EU a proper unified state. And no doubt argue articulately for his new position.
    Do remember it’s not all about the B word – this person will have their finger on the nuclear trigger.

  74. ChrisS
    May 29, 2019

    Michael Gove is a supremely effective minister. Any minister who promotes reforms that upset the trendy leftie teaching profession certainly gets my vote. Similarly, at Environment he has received much praise, even from unlikely sources such as the Greens. He does proper research, develops a strategy and then implements it. Quickly.

    Whether MG would make a good PM, I simply don’t know. At least he wouldn’t make the kind of stupid Gaffes that Boris is famous for, so that has to be a good start, but could he appeal to the general public who have to be won over before the next election ? I don’t know.

    To my mind Boris made such a mess of being Foreign Secretary that I couldn’t support him for PM. Had he not resigned, May would have had no choice other than to sack him.
    He might look to be the best bet to win the next GE but long before that come round he will have made so many gaffes in office that he will no longer be taken seriously at home or abroad.

    As for the others, I very much like the feisty Esther McVey. She is dead right on Brexit but I’m not sure she would be able to win over the middle ground at a GE.

    Hunt completely blew it with his ridiculous proposal to bring in the SNP and Welsh Labour into his negotiating team. A licence for chaos.

    Of the others, Rabb looks to be the only sensible, electable and serious candidate. His careful control of the conversation throughout his interview with Marr did him a whole lot of good.

    Dominic would go to Brussels. attempt to re-open the negotiations and when Brussels demonstrably shuts the door in his face he will propose leaving on WTO terms. I can’t see any other likely outcome, whoever is in charge. Success or failure will come down to whether the Remainers can actually stop it happening.

    My vote goes to Rabb for PM with Redwood as Chancellor.

  75. Pat
    May 29, 2019

    Mr. Gove seems to exemplify the folly of appointing ministers with no prior knowledge of their brief. He was effective at education because he had briefed himself in opposition. At the environment he appears to have been captured by his civil servants.
    Is there any reason to believe that he has made an independent study of the matters in hand? I doubt he has had the time.
    Some of his statements could be viewed as careerist, intended to ingratiate himself with the party hierarchy, others are likely the result of insufficient independent study and hence a reliance on civil service advice.
    As a minister in charge of a department that he had prior knowledge of he would be excellent.
    As a PM receiving misleading advice from the civil service he would be hopeless.

  76. Jean-Pierre Le Pan
    May 29, 2019

    Ever think about who suggested his turncoat style?

    1. Jean-Pierre Le Pan
      May 29, 2019

      Or who is constantly behind him suggesting that backstabbing style?

  77. SAP
    May 29, 2019

    I would have thought that the fact he was principled enough to say he thought Boris Johnson was not up to the job is an indication that he is prepared to stand up for his views. It cannot have been an easy thing for him to do and in many ways can be considered admirable. I’m sure he has been so supportive of May because he doesn’t wish to be seen as disloyal which most of the above comments seem to suggest that is how he is viewed. Boris Johnson did not need to abandon his leadership bid just because he lost Goves backing – I think it says more about him than Gove.

    1. Jean-Pierre Le Pan
      May 29, 2019

      That is his line. ‘I’m sure he has been so supportive of May because he doesn’t wish to be seen as disloyal’ = almost the exact line for justification read in the Spectator; disingenuous since ‘he did not wish to be disloyal’ is EXACTLY what he risked at the last second with BJ. Thus an outright lie on top of being a Judas is his claim to fame.

  78. Keith Elliott
    May 29, 2019

    I think he is a serious and thoughtful candidate. As you note he has made positive changes in every department he’s been in. I want to hear him explicitly say that no deal is an option and we leave on Oct 31. If he says that, I would be minded to vote for him if he’s in the final two after MPs vote. I am worried that Mr Johnson is not serious enough.

    Presumably his support for the May deal was a result of collective cabinet responsibility and he made the judgement that staying in and working for Brexit was better than resigning. You will be in a better position than me to judge the soundness of this view.

    BTW I would very much like to see you back in the Cabinet, preferably as Chancellor.



  79. Fedupsoutherner
    May 29, 2019

    No point in me commenting John. I can’t think of anyone worse.

  80. Turboterrier
    May 29, 2019

    Sir John.
    Amazed you have got so many comments on this post none seem to be very complimentary. There is no place in politics let alone party leadership for people such as Gove. The man has by his actions condemned himself to a life outside politics but is the party strong enough to throw him out? We have enough trouble within the ranks without being seen to support back stabbing two faced members seeking their shot at glory and a place in history. He is already there for all the wrong reasons.

  81. Lester Beedell
    May 29, 2019

    I think that the blame for May can be laid at Gove’s door fairly and squarely
    It’s not a question of simply changing the Prime Minister, the problem goes far deeper than this, they have totally lost the trust of the voters, this isn’t the Conservative party that I’ve always supported, they’ve been infiltrated by Lib Dem’s.
    The Brexit Party is far more in line with my beliefs and I shall be supporting them in future

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to say who isn’t standing for the leadership?

  82. BR
    May 29, 2019

    It seems that Gove is still invited to the ‘Pizza Club’ meetings.

    Have they learned nothing from his days as ‘leader’ of the Leave campaign? Actions speak louder than words. He will sit there and listen to their strategy/planning and use it against them.

    A backstabber, sure. But he comes across as pompous and that will never win an election (N.B. JRM comes across as ‘posh’ – not a term I’m fond of – but not at all pompous).

    And he seems to be on the wrong side of every policy these days, fawning inanely over 16 year olds on climate change issues.

    Please – establish the science properly on climate change, there is much yet to be established as fact.

  83. Treacle
    May 29, 2019

    Gove has no hope of winning over millions of working class voters for the Conservatives. He looks and sounds wrong. He’s a nerd. He is famous for making A-levels harder, for knifing an opponent who was more popular and charismatic than he was, and latterly for being a cheer-leader for Theresa May.

    I would like to leave the EU, but even more importantly I want to avoid having a Communist as Prime Minister who would strip me of much of my property, take 10% of my shares and cripple me financially. I don’t think Gove, whatever his qualities might be, is capable of saving us from Corbyn, John McDonnell and the Labour Party, who represent a terrifying danger to all of us individually and to the country generally.

  84. Lindsay McDougall
    May 29, 2019

    A good departmental minister. Not Prime Minister material.

  85. N. Ominous
    May 30, 2019

    Gove supported May’s deal and he is a “climate change” devotee. I’m afraid either would be enough for me to rule him out. His role as Environment Minister is particularly troubling, since he was formerly a sceptic. While believers sometimes become sceptics it’s rare, at least in my experience, for sceptics to become believers…

  86. outsider
    May 30, 2019

    Dear Sir John, Michael Gove reminds me a lot of Michael Howard. Both ably determined outsiders keen on attaining the glittering prizes, both extremely intelligent, good debaters and open to new ideas. I found them both very pleasant at a personal level, though you will know them much better.
    However, both Michaels in my view share a serious fault. They lack good judgment. In other words, Mr Gove would probably be an excellent choice as leader of the Opposition but not as Prime Minister.

  87. BR
    May 30, 2019

    P.S. Just a final note on Gove…

    If we believe that actions speak louder than words (and we should)…

    You probably know him better than people commenting here, so perhaps the question for you is this: do you know something about him that would make better sense of his actions to date other than the obvious?

    His actions suggest him to be a duplicitous spy in the Leave camp. Unless you know better, is it not safer to vote for someone else (and exclude him from any discussion on strategy)?

    Also – anyone who is talking about tweaking the WA should not get this job.

  88. Moxy
    May 31, 2019

    Michael Gove. A man who has never let principles and loyalty get in the way of personal ambition

  89. Diane
    May 31, 2019

    Mr Gove is certainly not for me, usually a Conservative voter. Admired him initially when in Education but decided some time ago I would not be able to support him as Leader / PM. Look what he starts with, accession to British Citizenship for 3 million, just like that. Just a sweeping statement – done & dusted, that’s off the desk. Just like many Tory MPs on Brexit, just get it done based on the WA regardless of what its impact will be but at least it’s off the desk ! If we are to actually leave and in addition have an effective & sensible policy on immigration, things need to be done properly, risks taken, look at the long term. Like millions of others I despair at what our politicians currently are offering us & their lack of vision. I’ll not comment on his current brief, only to say that too leaves me cold.

  90. StephenJ
    June 2, 2019

    My view of Gove is that he should be asked to “retire”, so that he can spend more time with his favourite book by Machiavelli.

  91. G Wilson
    June 2, 2019

    I would like Mr Gove to be Prime Minister, because I would like to see the Brexit Party win the next election.

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