NEWS

Michael Gove Denies Fresh Allegations Of 'Treachery' Against Boris Johnson Following Failed Leadership Bid

'It was a mistake.'

27/10/2016 15:17 | Updated 27 October 2016

Michael Gove has rejected fresh accusations of “treachery” in the way in which he announced his Conservative leadership bid having formerly been Boris Johnson’s campaign manager.

But the former Justice Secretary, who lost his position in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle in July, did concede that he had made a “mistake” in how he dealt with the situation. 

Gove said: “I should either have paused before supporting Boris the way that I did or, having agreed to support Boris that I should have stuck with it.

“And the final thing that I have said is that, having made that decision not to support him but to run myself, I should probably have presented my case in a different way than I did.”

Sky News presenter Adam Boulton questioned Gove on whether it was a mistake to think that he would be the best person to become Prime Minister when his Tory colleagues “felt that even Andrea Leadsom would be better”.

The former Education Secretary missed out on a chance to be in the final two Conservative candidates in the leadership race when Leadsom received the backing of more MPs than him.

Boulton said Gove “must have felt a prize idiot” after failing to receive enough support from his colleagues to make it onto the final ballot.

When asked whether it was a “foolish miscalculation”, Gove replied: “It was a mistake.” 

He added: “I lost, and there you go. If you are defeated in any election then you should accept the result in good grace.”

Sky News
Michael Gove denies fresh allegations of 'treachery' against Boris Johnson.

Speaking about how he felt after he heard that Johnson had ruled himself out of the leadership race, his former ally said he was “surprised”.

Gove continued: “I think there were a number of factors at work there but it was certainly the case that my decision not to support Boris at the end but to run myself, that obviously changed the dynamic of the leadership election and then at the end of that process, we found that Boris was foreign secretary and I was on the back benches, but now that I am on the back benches I have an opportunity to contribute to a debate about how Britain can shape its future in the European Union.”

Gove rejected the accusation that there was a certain degree of “treachery” around the circumstances leading up to Johnson’s announcement that he would not be standing for the Conservative leadership. 

Earlier this week, Gove denied stabbing Johnson in the back by making a last minute bid to become Tory leader after David Cameron stepped down.

He told Radio 4’s World At One programme on Tuesday that his actions following the referendum campaign were not treacherous.

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