Michael Gove Fails To Rule Out Standing To Be Tory Leader

"Never say never."

Michael Gove has not ruled out standing to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader.

The environment secretary said it was “extremely unlikely” he would seek the job but added he would “never say never”.

Over the weekend Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Amber Rudd all fulled speculation they might join the race to become leader and prime minister.

The jostling for position comes ahead of Tuesday’s crunch vote on May’s Brexit deal – which she is widely expected to lose heavily.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today this morning, Gove said the vote was definitely happening, despite rumours it might be postponed. “The vote is going ahead,” he said.

Gove, who unlike many other senior Brexiteers has backed the PM, said May was “seeking to improve” her deal.

He said there was “no-one better placed” than May to get additional concessions from the EU.

But he warned Tory MPs that attempting to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement entirely could backfire.

“By reopening it, there is a risk that we may not necessarily get everything that we wish for,” he said.

Gove denied the suggestion the prime minister’s negotiating hand would be strengthened if MPs voted down the deal as it stands.

“No, I think it would be the equivalent of breaking the cricket bat in half before the captain went to the crease,” he said.

Amid expectations May could be forced from office should she lose the vote, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan this morning rubbished the idea that Johnson would be a suitable prime minister.

He said the former foreign secretary would be “met with a very, very loud raspberry in many, many different languages” if he walked into a negotiating room in Brussels.

“Let’s be absolutely clear that if this goes pear-shaped in the way that it really could on the back of people opposing the deal that is on offer tomorrow night, the wreckers in history will forever be known as the wreckers,” Duncan warned Tory MPs.

In a boost to campaigners hoping to stop Brexit, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled this morning the UK can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal from the EU.


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