Michael Gove has dismissed the suggestion he could become the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States.
The Conservative MP and Times columnist, who nabbed the first British interview with Donald Trump, has been touring TV and radio studios to promote the story.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Gove was asked if the access to the president-elect he secured would make him a good British envoy to the White House.
Gove snorted with laughter at the suggestion. “I think you can probably tell from my instinctive reaction to that, wonderful as the Foreign Office is, it is probably better off without me as one of its ambassadors,” he said.
Gove said the existing UK ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, was doing a “fantastic job” in Washington DC.
Any job in the Foreign Office would also require Gove to report to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The two former allies had a spectacular falling out after Gove unexpectedly challenged Johnson for the leadership of the Tory party.
“Boris is doing a very good job indeed,” Gove told Today. “One off the things I was told while I was there was the relationship Boris has forged with members of the Trump team had been strong. They appreciated his combination of friendliness and candour.”
Asked by Sky News in a later interview whether he fancied become the ambassador, Gove said: “No. I am very happy being MP for Surrey Heath and a writer for The Times.”
Gove’s denials were mocked by many, given he had long denied he wanted to be Conservative leader only to then throw his hat into the ring at the last minute.
Michael Gove denying he wants to be prime minister:
Gove is the second British politician to meet Trump. Nigel Farage was the first. The former Ukip leader has been agitating for a informal envoy role - something Downing Street has rejected.
Theresa May is yet to meet Trump. In the interview for The Times, the US president-elect said he would be inviting the prime minsiter for early talks in Washington following his inauguration on Friday.
“I will be meeting with (May). She’s requesting a meeting and we’ll have a meeting right after I get into the White House. I think we’re gonna get something done very quickly,” he said.
His comments came as the prime minister prepared to set out her strategy for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations in a major speech on Tuesday.