30 Jun 2016

Team Boris sniffs a plot, as Gove makes a play for power

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Boris Johnson knows his Shakespeare (he’s writing – now perhaps closer to the publisher’s deadline  – a biography of the Bard). So he knew who he was quoting when, in a low key speech shorn of the normal literary flourish, he threw in a quotation from Brutus in “Julius Caesar:”

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

As recently as last night at the Tory Fundraiser at the Hurlingham Club in West London, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson had their arms around each other. The man who is Michael Gove’s campaign manager, MP Nick Boles, travelled with Boris Johnson after the event.

Team Boris say Michael Gove’s excuses just don’t stack up and they sniff a plot. They think they have been played and that the Justice Secretary always had it mind to turn on their hero.

Friends of Michael Gove argue that he is simply a man who has long spoken honestly about how he thinks he hasn’t got what it takes to do the top job but has had powerful voices telling him to think again.

On what jobs were offered, I understand that Boris Johnson only offered one certain job to anyone: in response to a demand from Michael Gove, he promised him he would be both Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the negotiations with the EU.

There was no advance notice given by Michael Gove to Boris Johnson before he announced a candidacy which he well knew would strip Boris Johnson of many of the MPs he had, and make his leadership campaign untenable.

There was, I understand, an attempt to contact Sir Lynton Crosby who had been lending advice to Mr Johnson.  I understand there has been a subsequent attempt to get in touch by Michael Gove but Boris Johnson has not taken the call.

Some supporters of Michael Gove claim there was slippage in Mr Johnson’s commitment to the more distant relationship with the EU and the tighter control of immigration that Vote Leave campaigned on.

Some supporters of Mr Johnson say this is actually about individual characters at the heart of  Vote Leave, wanting guaranteed jobs in any new government and that that was something Boris Johnson’s refused to agree to.

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4 reader comments

  1. David Warwick says:


    There is definitely a plot but I think it goes more like this ….

    1. They didn’t expect to win the refendum, but thought it was Cameron’s problem still as he was PM
    2. Cameron resigns and they suddenly realise it was their problem, because as the victors, Boris has to be nailed on for PM now
    3. They both realise that they have created a poison chalice that they are going to have to drink themselves
    4. The only escape from this madness –… they both have to not be PM, so:
    a. They construct the famous email from Gove’s wife and make sure it is leaked to Sky News (it is still not clear how it miraculously got sent to a member of the public, this just beggars belief).
    b. This email then gives some additional credence for Gove’s subsequent reason for standing and supposedly ‘knifing’ Boris
    c. Gove’s decision allows Boris to withdraw claiming he will never get the backing now that Gove has said what he said
    d. They both know that Gove is a lame duck contender who will not win, because 1) he has already said 3 years ago that he is not PM material, 2) the members will not vote for him because he stabbed Boris in the back.
    5. Net result on Sept 2nd – Boris & Gove walkaway scot free and some other Tory sap is PM and left to pick up all the pieces.

    This the only rational explanation …. go investigate.

  2. Francoise Brindle says:

    I totally agree, it is a big set up, just surprised the bbc and even the guardian fell for it….

  3. Jill Adderley says:

    Michael Gove is double crossing two faced evil idiot ( with a wife who obviously pulls the strings)
    Can you imagine the negotiations “That looks fine Mr Tusk but can I just pass that past my wife in case she objects”
    He is not to be trust with our country He is a mendacious conniving snivelling excuse for a human being

  4. Jim Elder says:

    BoJo isnae daft and is playing the long game. He knows whoever succeeds Cameron will find themselves in a very toxic environment and will be in position to take the reins when they inevitably fall.

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