Rifts in the Brexit Camp come to the fore as Justice Secretary Michael Gove enter the race to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Gove’s move makes the front runner Boris Johnson, the popular former London mayor, quitting the race… reports Anasudhin Azeez
Gove announced the intention just just hours before the deadline today. Besides him, Liam Fox MP, Home Secretary Theresa May, the Work & Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom, MP from South Northamptonshire, are in the fray.
The contest was sparked after Cameron announced he would resign following the EU referendum result, which saw the UK vote by 52% to 48% to leave the EU. Mr Johnson’s unexpected – and dramatic – announcement that he would not stand for Tory leader or prime minister, positions he is long thought to have harboured ambitions for, has dramatically altered the race.
Addressing the reporters in London, Mr Johnson said the next Conservative leader would have to unify his party and ensure that Britain stood tall in the world.
“Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me,” he said.
Earlier Gove shocked the political circuit with his intention to become the prime minister. The former education secretary said that he does not believe Boris can “provide the leadership” for the task ahead to get a fair deal for Britain in talks with European Union.
The journalist turned politician had repeatedly said he had no leadership ambitions.
“I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future,” Gove said in a statement. “But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead. “I have, therefore, decided to put my name forward for the leadership.
“I want there to be an open and positive debate about the path the country will now take. Whatever the verdict of that debate I will respect it. In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change.”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Nigel Evans, a supporter of Boris Johnson, says the former London mayor had been stabbed in the front and the back by Theresa May and Michael Gove.
“It makes the House of Cards look like Teletubbies,” he tells the BBC. He says he believes Mrs May will top the poll in the first round, and it “looks a bit messy” on the Leave side. “I’m a bit disappointed that Michael Gove has made this eleventh hour decision to stab Boris in the front,” he adds.