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