Gove “Exreeeeemely” Unlikely To Stand for Leadership

Speaking to the Today Programme, Michael Gove almost denied he could stand for the Conservative Party leadership. The Environment Secretary twice emphasised his non-denial denial, adding more vowels in an attempt to drive home the point. He wasn’t categorical…

Remainers Lining Up Gove to Lead Norway-Plus Push

While ERG Brexiteers’ efforts are focused on trying to harden up the Brexit deal or even force no deal, other players within the Tory party are coalescing around a push for a ‘Norway-plus’ Brexit after May’s deal is voted down next week. As yesterday’s Evening Standard reports, Tory “sensibles” including Nicky Morgan and Sir Oliver Letwin are now advocating an “ultra-soft” Brexit of staying in the single market and the customs union. In direct contradiction to key manifesto pledges they were all elected on…

Guido understands from multiple sources that the Norway-plus faction are hoping to have one key Cabinet Minister on board – Michael Gove. One senior Cameroon who has been liaising between Letwin and others in the Norway camp believes Gove will come out and lead the Norway push once May’s deal is rejected. Gove’s outrider Nick Boles has long advocated an EEA pivot, while Gove himself has held private discussions with Tory MPs in recent months on the option of remaining in the single market as an alternative to no deal. Gove’s name is absent from yesterday’s Standard article but his continued lines of communications with George Osborne were a significant source of internal tensions in the Brexit camp post-referendum…

Brexiteers still blame Gove for the post-referendum fiasco which led to a Remainer becoming Prime Minister despite Vote Leave‘s triumph. Gove famously committed to the position during the referendum campaign that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market. When Guido put the claim to an ally of Gove he denied it would happen, pointing to Gove’s many on-the-record rejections of single market membership. So Guido challenged him to a wager… which he declined. It would be hard to see the Conservative Party faithful forgiving Gove a second time if he reneged on the single market as well…

Another Gove Ally Resigns

Oliver Lewis, who served as Research Director at Vote Leave, has resigned as a Conservative Councillor in Michael Gove’s constituency of Surrey Heath over the Government’s Brexit policy. This follows fellow Vote Leave veteran James Starkie’s resignation as a SpAd to Gove last week.

Writing to residents in his ward, Oliver said that “having read the draft agreement that the Prime Minister has agreed with the EU, I no longer feel able to stand as a Conservative candidate.”

Vote Leave veterans feel like they can’t in good conscience stand by this deal…

Dehydrated Zombie Brexit

According to a report in the Mail on Sunday, Whitehall disaster planners have contingency plans codenamed ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ to deal with the risk of Britain running out of clean drinking water within days of a no-deal Brexit. Britons would supposedly become dehydrated zombies because crucial chemicals used in water purification are imported to the UK from Europe. Apparently in order to make water safe to drink, suppliers add chemicals; including fluorosilicic acid, aluminium sulphate, calcium hydroxide and sodium silicofluoride. These we are warned can’t be stockpiled because they are too volatile. This we are told is one of the reasons why Gove has converted to May’s deal.

Is it really beyond the wit of the scientific powerhouse that is one of the world’s five leading industrial nations to produce the necessary chemicals to clean water? This is yet another example of the civil service making the worst possible extrapolations, which are fantastically improbable and assume no corrective action in the unlikely event it were required, like finding another source. Guido is amazed that an intelligent cabinet minister, particularly a minister like Gove who has been famously sceptical of the “no can do” attitude of civil servants, would give this nonsense any credence…

Don’t worry, Elon Musk has just tweeted a plan to save our island nation:


If it were needed…

Gove NOT Resigning

After boundless speculation, Michael Gove has decided to stay at Defra. Sources close to hims say he felt it would be “a nihilistic act” achieving nothing, and that it is better to make things work from the inside. Gove, of course, did not take this ‘remain and reform’ view during the referendum…

UPDATE: Gove’s statement…

“I’ve had a very good morning in a series of meetings with my colleagues here at Defra, just making sure that we have the right policies on the environment, on farming and on fisheries for the future.

And l’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 its 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.”

May Under Pressure to Reveal Full Backstop Legal Advice

The Government is facing pressure from all sides to release the full legal advice it has received from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on the Irish backstop, with Labour, the DUP, the Lib Dems and Tory MPs all calling for the Government to publish the advice. There is no question that this is an issue of fundamental constitutional importance – Parliament and the public have a right to know.

Even Cabinet ministers are being kept out of the loop, with Michael Gove leading the calls within Cabinet for the full legal advice to be revealed. Suspicions are high that Number 10 are trying to bounce Cabinet Brexiteers including Dominic Raab over the line without letting them review the full advice. If there is nothing contentious about it then why is it being hidden from the Cabinet?

Disgruntled Cabinet ministers are complaining that every trick in the book is being used to keep the legal advice from them, from “we’re running out of time”, “you’ll wreck Brexit” and “no deal will crash the economy” to “you’ll be spat at in the street” and, best of all, “we have to keep it ambiguous to fool the Irish”The problem is that no-one believes it’s just the Irish they’re trying to fool…

Gove Banning Plastic Straws… Again

Michael Gove has continued his war on disposable plastics by unveiling a new plan today to ban plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds. The only problem – apart the fact that paper straws are rubbish – is that the ban was already announced last April. Now Gove is launching a public consultation with the aim of having the ban in place in as little as a year’s time. One last year to enjoy drinks without soggy straws…

When Gove Compared Prince Charles to Hitler

In his past life as a journalist, while he wasn’t busy going through David Attenborough’s bins, the now Environment Secretary made an interesting comparison between Prince Charles and… Adolf Hitler. According to Gove, both were fans of classical architecture, haters of metropolitan life and “keen supporters of population control”. Gulp…

DD on Govey

David Davis says of Michael Gove…

“he is clever. But sometimes clever men miss the obvious.”

Gove: Chequers Right “For Now”

 

Michael Gove tells Andrew Marr

“A future PM could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the EU, but the Chequers approach is the right one for now.”

Gove in the Moment

Michael Gove in the present tense…
‘The Prime Minister is doing a great job at the moment’

Boris Storms Ahead of Rivals

Number 10 will be spluttering into their cornflakes this morning after seeing the latest ConHome survey. Boris has stormed ahead of all the other contenders with 35% of Tory Party members now backing him to be next PM, ahead of Sajid Javid on 15%. The Mogg is third on 10% while Gove is languishing in fourth with 6%.  Another boost for Boris as he ramps up the pressure on Chequers…

Norway Is No Way Out of Euro Limbo


The “Norway” option of staying in the EEA was one of the first to be ruled out after the referendum – among other issues it doesn’t allow the UK to end free movement and would mean the UK remaining subject to vast swathes of EU law in perpetuity. Although much the same could be said about Chequers…

However, the suggestion of using the EEA as a staging post during the transition period has regained some traction after senior Tory MP Nick Boles made a renewed call over the weekend for the UK to seek temporary membership of the EEA, to give the government time to negotiate a new relationship with the EU and avoid what he calls the “humiliation” of Chequers. Boles is very close to Michael Gove – has the Environment Secretary gone cold on Chequers after taking the heat from angry local party members over the summer break?

It won’t work for several reasons. If the UK had announced it was seeking to maintain EEA membership two years ago, it’s possible that the EU would have agreed to it. At this stage in the negotiations it’s unlikely the EU will accept any EEA-style deal unless the UK also commits to remaining in the customs union. As we’ve seen time and time again in the negotiations, the EU simply pockets any British concessions and then continues demanding more…

And while Boles’ well-intentioned plan only views the EEA as a short-term stop, many Brexiteers are understandably worried that once the UK gets in, the inertia of the EEA will prove too great to overcome and Britain will end up staying in on a permanent basis, with all the disadvantages that brings. If the Brexit negotiations are still a mess after March next year, that will at least be a strong incentive for both sides to keep negotiating until a sustainable long-term solution is found. Once Britain has been safely bound up in the trap of the EEA, the EU will have no incentive to come back to the table…

As Boris’ column this morning pointed out, there are still over two years until the end of the transition period – time which can be used to negotiate a better alternative to Chequers. With the exception of the Irish backstop, the Withdrawal Agreement itself should not lock the UK in to any particular type of future relationship. Provided the UK does not give in to the EU’s demands on the Irish backstop, there is no need to make a desperate dash for the EEA option. It’s not too late to put a comprehensive Canada-plus deal back on the table…

Now Gove Floats EEA at Dinner With Remainer Tory MPs

It falls to Guido to gently prod Michael Gove and remind him of his commitments to 17.4 million Leave voters, and his own Brexit red lines from before he accepted a job in Theresa May’s Cabinet. Because the Michael Gove who the FT says has been floating the EEA model to ultra-Remain MPs isn’t the Michael Gove who fought the referendum. They report:

Michael Gove, the Eurosceptic UK environment minister, has privately discussed a backstop plan that would keep the UK in the EU single market if Theresa May’s Brexit strategy failed. At a recent dinner, Mr Gove talked with moderate Conservative MPs and peers about a scenario in which the UK would remain “parked” in the European Economic Area, like Norway, to avoid the chaos of a disorderly “no deal” exit… Mr Gove raised the possibility at a private dinner with about 20 Tory MPs and peers on June 25…

His dinner with members of the Green Chip dining group — a gathering of moderate Tories set up by Mr Gove and former minister Greg Barker to support David Cameron, the former prime minister — was part of that drive. One ministerial colleague has taken to jokily referring to the environment secretary as “St Michael of the EEA”…

“He was steering the conversation towards the EEA idea,” said one MP who attended the dinner. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Michael’s personal rating with Tory members was 73% last month, he is now on a dismal 39% post-Chequers. Guido would urge him to reassess his leadership strategy, because it clearly isn’t working.

Tory Members Want PM Boris as Gove’s Popularity Plummets

Boris Johnson has been catapulted into first place in the ConHome Tory leadership survey of members following his resignation over Chequers. His rating has quadrupled as members come to the conclusion he is the only leader who can deliver a real Brexit. He is now more than ten points ahead of anyone else, and you can effectively add Jacob Rees-Mogg’s numbers to Boris’ too. MPs in marginals will be looking at this thinking he is the only one who can keep them in their seats when an election comes. A reminder that those pundits who love to write Boris off are motivated by jealously rather than reason…

And just look at what has happened to the fortunes of those who backed Chequers. Last month, Michael Gove was in second place on 17%. After his Brexit sellout, he has plummeted to fifth on a meagre 9%, behind “other”. Guido cannot help but feel supporting Chequers will be fatal for the leadership ambitions of the remaining Cabinet Brexiters…

Gove’s East Coast Train Wine

Michael Gove was filmed generously sharing his wine with other passengers in the first class carriage of a newly nationalised LNER East Coast Main Line train yesterday.

Surprised he was sharing after a day with the Cabinet…

Tory MPs to Reflect Over Recess on Who Can Beat Corbyn

The YouGov/Sunday Times polling this weekend which put various potential Tory leaders against Corbyn to voters has given much food for thought for Tory MPs as they head off for recess. With Labour now pulling ahead (41% against 36%) in polling since the Chequers Plan sell-out, the question of who can beat Corbyn post-May is becoming urgent…

Despite a continuous monstering in many of the pro-Remain papers by green-eyed hacks, Boris remains the Tories’ best hope according to YouGov. With Boris as leader the Tories would now be tied (38% to 38%) with Corbyn’s Labour. With Mogg they trail Labour by 5%, with Gove, Saj and Hunt they would be double digits behind. Something for Tory MPs in marginal seats to reflect on over the holidays.

Boris still has the ability to reach parts of the electorate that no other Tory can, he is the reason the Leave campaign won the referendum. When Tory MPs return to their constituencies, this polling will focus minds in the coming months…

Source: YouGov

Gove: Deal Critics Guilty of “Fake Outrage”

Michael Gove gave a full-throated defence of Theresa May’s deal on Marr, blasting those criticising the proposal as being guilty of “fake and mock outrage”. Gove says the two people who most oppose the deal are Clegg and Farage. Err, what about multiple Cabinet members, dozens and dozens of Tory MPs, 60% of Tory members (according to a ConHome poll this morning). And no doubt a huge number of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave. Are they all faking it?

Guido understands that Gove fully backed the PM’s plan from the beginning of the Chequers meeting, to the astonishment of Brexiters in the room. Gove has carefully moderated his position on Brexit over the last year, calculating that his best shot of becoming leader is getting Remain MPs onside. Today he has written a joint op-ed with ultra-Remainer Greg Clark in the Mail on Sunday lavishing praise on the deal. Guido can’t help but wonder if Gove has misjudged this. What will Brexiteer MPs and voters make of his performance over the last 48 hours?

ConHome: Saj Would Beat Gove in Tory Leadership Contest

The conversation in Tory circles is very much centred around Theresa May going in the spring if she makes it through this year. ConHome’s survey of party members this morning calculates that Sajid Javid would currently beat Michael Gove as their choice for next leader. The run offs ConHome has surveyed over the last few days have been interesting: Boris beats Hunt, Saj beats Hunt (not much going for the Health Secretary) and Gove beats Boris. Saj has had a good couple of months and finds himself in a strong position…

Liz Truss on “Wood-Burning Gove”

Team Truss spinning hard that she didn’t break collective responsibility on the government’s plastic straws policy as that line was taken out of the speech. As you can see above though, she did make the crack at “wood-burning Gove”.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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