Boris Still Miles Ahead of Tory Leadership Rivals

The latest ConHome Tory leadership survey results are out, with Boris Johnson maintaining his commanding lead at the head of the pack. Boris sits comfortably on 26%, more than double his closest rival in Dominic Raab with 12%. Gove comes back in from the cold into third place after his barnstorming anti-Corbyn speech in Parliament last month.

The biggest surprise is much-vaunted contender Sajid Javid sliding down to fifth with only 7%. Outspoken Tory Remainers are even further behind, with Amber Rudd the highest ranked in 8th with just 4%. May is safe from a formal Tory challenge until December, but pressure for a more pro-Brexit leader will inevitably mount once the Article 50 process is finally over…

Michael Gove’s Barnstorming Speech

Michael Gove closed the case for the Government last night with an absolute cracker of a speech. It is well worth a watch…

Gove Tickles Labour’s “Testicular Nature”

Michael Gove tore into both the Speaker and the Labour Party from the dispatch box this afternoon during the Withdrawal Agreement debate. It’s well worth a watch…

“I know, Mr. Speaker, that there are some distinguished citizens in this country who have put on their cars a poster or sticker saying “bollocks to Brexit”, but we now know from Labour’s front bench, that their official Brexit position is bollocks.”

Michael Gove on Mid-50s Swingers

Michael Gove told the Cabinet today that some MPs opposing May’s Brexit deal are

“like mid-50s swingers waiting for Scarlett Johansson to turn up…..”.

H/t Sam Coates 

Gove Goes Gangnam Again

Michael Gove was not letting the UK’s political crisis dampen his festive spirits at a party last night in DEFRA, with the Environment Secretary enthusiastically judging a fancy dress contest including a crocodile and a dancing monkey, before showing off his dancing skills himself alongside TV personality Ed Balls. Not for the first time

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.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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Quote of the Day

Ken Livingstone deployed a corker on TalkRadio this afternoon…
“I joined the Labour Party 50 years ago this month and in all that time I have never heard a single anti-semitic comment.”

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