Gove Admits Why He Lost Tory Leadership Race

Joe Politics expertly sums up the Tory leadership race…

Tory Tea Room Trickery

Tory MPs have been lightening up the leadership race with this picture currently doing the rounds on WhatsApp of a mischievously modified Jaffa Cake box that has mysteriously appeared in the Members’ Tea Room:

Boris supporters have not been letting this delicious deviousness go unchallenged. A rival image has now made its way into Tory WhatsApp circles as well:

Which one do Tory MPs find more palatable? We’ll find out this afternoon…

Tory Leadership: Decision Day

It’s crunch time in the Tory leadership race – by the end of the day we will know who the final two are, however many votes it takes. After last night’s results, Saj is trailing Hunt and Gove by several votes, however he was quick to insist that he wouldn’t be withdrawing. This means there will be at least two votes today:

  • 10 a.m.-Midday: MPs vote in fourth ballot
  • 1 p.m.: Fourth round result – three candidates left
  • 3.30-5.30 p.m.: MPs vote in fifth ballot
  • 6 p.m.: Fifth round result – two candidates left

In the unlikely event that there’s a tie, there will be an extra round of voting into the night from 7.30-9.30pm, with the final result as soon as possible after that. With many MPs going back to their constituencies on Thursday afternoon, as many as 25% of votes today are expected to be by proxy. One person who will definitely be voting by proxy is Theresa May who’s heading off to Brussels for another EU summit. 1922 Committee Vice-Chair Charles Walker has been entrusted with her vote…

With the unpredictable factor of Rory Stewart now out of the race, the talk this morning is that Team Boris is now on maneouvres to take out Gove by pushing the Saj through at his expense. Gove’s 2016 betrayal has still not been forgotten by many Boris supporters, they are out for revenge by dumping him out this time…

Judge Lets Off Convicted Cocaine User Citing “Gove Defence”

A defendant, who has not been named, was found guilty at Inner London Crown Court of possession of a class A substance.

Judge Owen Davies set him free, allowing the cocaine user to walk free from court with a 12-month conditional discharge, after suggesting during legal argument with the defence that the defendant “should suffer no more for dabbling in cocaine than should a former Lord Chancellor.” Gove, who bases his leadership campaign on effectively driving policy change, has effectively decriminalised cocaine possession…

Rory in Talks With Gove Over “Combining Forces”

“We’re talking about combining forces, because it’s clear that Boris is going in to the last round and the question is who is best placed to sit on a stage with Boris Johnson and who is best placed to ask the testing questions that need to be asked.”

Is this a kamikaze effort from Rory..?

Tory Leadership Second Round Results in Full

Here’s how the results broke down for round two of the Tory leadership contest (round one results in brackets):

  • Boris: 126 (114)
  • Hunt: 46 (43)
  • Gove: 41 (37)
  • Rory: 37 (19)
  • Saj: 33 (23)
  • Raab: 30 (27) ELIMINATED

Boris still has more votes than 2nd, 3rd and 4th combined…

30 Second Pitches: Gove, Hunt, Stewart, Javid, Raab

  • Gove – I’m a serious candidate for serious times
  • Hunt – I can be trusted to deliver
  • Stewart – I’m an honest and trustworthy outsider
  • Javid – I’m an outsider who looks like modern Britain
  • Raab – I’m the only one here committed to Brexiting on October 31

Boris tells them all, see you next Tuesday…

Rory Stewart Jumps to Second Place With Tory Members

Looks like Rory Stewart’s ‘unique’ style of campaigning hasn’t done him too much harm, he’s managed an improbable jump into second place in the latest ConHome leadership survey. He’s still going to need at least another eight votes if the fun is going to continue. He tells The Sun he is still “one or two votes short”…

Raab and Gove have both been pushed down a place and fall under 10% for the first time in months, Hunt has closed the gap slightly while the Saj has managed to put a bit of distance between himself and the remaining candidates. Hancock looks to have cleared the 16-vote bar with George Freeman’s switch from Gove yesterday, the other three all have work to do. The membership won’t be too distraught either way, it’s just 2% for McVey and Leadsom while Hancock and Harper don’t even muster 1%…

It’s all a bit academic anyway, these are all molehills compared to Boris Johnson’s towering peak – breaking the 50% mark for the first time. His smooth launch yesterday failed to offer any kind of gamechanging gaffe his rivals need to dent his imposing lead. It’s increasingly starting to look like a race for second place…

Gove’s Liberal Case for Bringing Back Hanging

Since the revelation that Gove was sniffing lines of cocaine whilst writing lines attacking middle-class cocaine use, rival campaigns are now trawling through Gove’s Times articles looking for interesting policy positions. One that was passed to Guido is particularly appealing and would likely go down a treat with a large segment of the Tory membership. “Bring back hanging”, a classic vote winner with Tory members if there ever was one!

Under the caption “Michael Gove prefers hanging to hounding” he was trenchant on the issue, citing the arguments of “impeccable liberals” to bolster his argument:

My support for hanging does not, however, depend simply on respect for democracy. Reverence for life, liberty and the law springs from the State taking its responsibilities seriously. The finality of the punishment should focus not only criminal minds, but those of lawmakers and enforcers, who must ensure that the system is applied with scrupulous fairness.

Gove concluded his argument with his preference for “a fair trial, under the shadow of the noose.” Given Gove’s continuing reverence for life, liberty and the law his position is presumably unchanged. Unfortunately for someone who prides himself on his effectiveness as a minister he didn’t deliver on the policy when he was Justice Secretary. Now he’s “ready to lead” and emphasising his ability to get things done, child murderers and cop killers know what they will face from Prime Minister Gove…

N.B. The Times article is now offline, so Guido has re-uploaded it for co-conspirators: Gove on Hanging

Hard Blow from Gove

Michael Gove had to try something different to give his campaign a bump with the dust still yet to settle from his torrid weekend and he certainly managed the most energetic campaign launch of all the candidates so far. The line he decided to take this time was going hard on Big B…

Gove stands out among the Tory leadership field for being able to both set out detailed policies and not be boring doing so and there was plenty that will have appealed including his social care insurance and veterans policies. Brexit is still his Achilles heel – on policy at least – and Gove saying that he would be prepared to delay Brexit “however long it takes to get a deal over the line” more or less sinks his chances of winning over Brexiteers in any significant numbers. His lines on Brexit aren’t red…

His decision to launch a range of personal attacks on Boris looks like a calculated deadcat gambit to try to shift the media narrative off his personal peccadillos onto internecine Brexiteer warfare and personality clashes, judging from the number of hits he took from journalists afterwards over it he still hasn’t managed to blow away the issue just yet. Attacking the candidate most people expect to emerge as the eventual winner is not necessarily the best way of getting wavering Tory MPs on board either…

Can Gove Tough It out?

Headlines like this are usually a precursor to the subject of them quitting because they only appear when expectant journalists ask “Are you quitting?” Friends of Gove say he intends to “Tough it out”.

Gove’s Three Misleading Answers to Marr

This morning just as Marr began his interview with Michael Gove we published the regulations, enforced by him when he was Secretary of State for Education, on the prohibition of teachers for misconduct. Gove’s had responsibility as the Secretary of State to regulate teachers’ conduct and to hold a list of teachers who have been prohibited from teaching. Included in the list of offences that would lead to a lifetime ban on teaching was “possession of class A drugs”. An offence that Gove admits to having committed many times.

Marr asked him did he bring in the rule change on “your watch”, Gove evaded answering the question directly, saying “no, I don’t believe so”. Which is what a politician says when he wants to give himself wriggle room. Gove had the power as Secretary of State for Education to ban teachers for life from teaching with a prohibition order. Possession of Class A drugs was grounds for a lifetime ban.

Gove also told Marr he couldn’t remember being asked the question of whether he took Class A drugs when travelling to the USA, and didn’t declare he had. Here is the visa question he will have had to answer when travelling to the USA:

Gove likewise claimed he had not been asked a direct question about drug use in the course of his vetting. Something most Whitehall veterans think unlikely…

At times during the interview Gove looked unusually uncomfortable having started out sounding confident. He trotted out some rehearsed contrite lines, by the end of the interview he seemed deflated. On the betting markets his odds lengthened…

Gove: Taking Cocaine Was a Mistake

Gove Enforced Rule Banning Teachers for Life for Cocaine Use


The hypocrisy charge is already hitting Gove hard over his writing of an article for The Times arguing it was hypocritical of journalists using cocaine to argue for drug liberalisation. An article written during the period he was using cocaine. The hypocrisy charge will be turbo-charged when it hits the headlines tomorrow that when he was Secretary of State for Education he enforced legislation that bans teachers for life from teaching if they are convicted of cocaine possession. Awkward doesn’t cover it…

UPDATE: Kathryn Thomas, 39, was an art teacher who used cocaine as a “pick-me-up” after a relationship ended. She was banned from the classroom for life in 2012.

Gove’s Non-Meeting Amuses Westminster

Much merriment in Westminster over Michael Gove’s eventual non-meeting with Donald Trump that got hacks so over-excited yesterday. Guido can bring you the full sequence of events:

  • Monday Night
    Michael Gove and Sarah Vine strike up a conversation with Donald Trump and Melania at the Queen’s State Banquet, which includes some vague talk of a potential meeting.
  • Tuesday Morning
    Sky’s Tom Rayner reports that Gove is expected to meet with Trump in a one-on-one later on Tuesday, during his executive time.

🚨🚨 Exclusive: Tory leadership hopeful Michael Gove is expected to meet President Trump one-on-one later today, according to a government source. Gove’s team say they are yet to receive formal confirmation.

I’m told the meeting was requested by President Trump’s team

Team Gove say they told Sky’s Tom Rayner that they were yet to receive formal confirmation, sounding positive despite not having heard anything from Team Trump since the night before.

  • Tuesday Afternoon
    Trump and May press conference takes place where Trump says “I don’t know Michael.”
    It becomes clear that Team Trump are not going to follow through on the pleasantries of the night before.
  • Wednesday
    Gove sheepishly tells the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that he did not meet Trump yesterday and that he exchanged pleasantries with him and waffled on about kilts with the President.

Rival campaigns speculate that Gove was keen to show he that he had an equivalent status invitation from the President that Hunt, Boris and Nigel clearly had. Team Gove stress they didn’t over-spin and that Sky approached them about the meeting. That’s their story and they are sticking to it…

Trump Weighs In On Tory Leadership Frontrunners

Trump knows Boris, he knows Jeremy Hunt, he says he doesn’t know Michael Gove despite being interviewed by him in 2017…

Gove’s Website Launches

Gove’s website Gove2019.com has launched. The man who managed to divide the last leadership campaign he was on is standing as the “unity” candidate. Jeremy Hunt is also standing as the unity candidate, the Conservative Party is even divided on unity candidates. He’s ready to lead, are Leavers ready to forgive him for inflicting Theresa May on the party?

Gove’s Pitch to MPs

Tom Tugendhat came out for Gove last night, which is the final sign, if a sign was needed, that Gove is definitely running. Gove’s parliamentary office was reportedly a hive of activity yesterday with MPs coming and going all day. He has been arguing heavily behind closed doors against the Government bringing in the WAB – warning that another triple-digit defeat would make it much harder for a deal to go through under May’s successor. Who could he be thinking of…

It appears the ever energetic Gove has two pitches to the MPs who come into his office. To those Gove believes are sympathetic to his merits he stresses his competence in driving change and innovative approach to policy. To those MPs he suspects are not fans his case is more utilitarian…

Gove implies his ambition is only to steady the Tory ship, get Brexit over the line and then dutifully make way for a more voter-friendly candidate to smash Corbyn in a future general election. Terms and conditions may apply…

Boris Only Contender Winning Brexiteers Back to the Tories

With the Tory leadership race finally starting to hot up, a new Hanbury Strategy poll has looked at how the potential candidates fare with different sets of voters. Boris is the only contender to make 2017 Tory voters more likely to vote Tory next time round. Not a great result for the contenders Hanbury execs are (informally) advising, Raab places fourth while Hancock isn’t even included… 

The poll found Tory General Election voting intention had dropped to just 21%, well behind Labour on 30% and only just ahead of the Brexit Party on 19% (Change UK surged to 5th place with a whole 6%). Again, Boris was the only contender to make Brexit Party supporters more likely to vote Tory:

Interestingly, the poll also found that voters would be less likely to vote Labour if they backed a second referendum in all circumstances, 37% said they would be less likely to vote Labour if they did, compared to only 32% who said it was more likely. Bad luck Labour Remainers, Corbyn was right…

Boris Fends Off All Challengers in Latest Tory Run-Off Poll

ConservativeHome have done a fresh round of Tory leadership run-offs to see how different combinations of the final two candidates fare with the members in their survey. It’s bad news for Jeremy Hunt whose Brexiteer drag act has not fooled the membership – Hunt loses all four matchups.[…] Read the rest

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Tory Results In Full Tory Results In Full