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Sean O'Grady Why Michael Gove might still be in with a chance as UK prime minister

2 8 0
22.06.2019

Has the Conservative party just made a terrible mistake? Will they now have to take Boris Johnson off the ballot paper and put Michael Gove on it instead?

Whatever the reported argument between Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds was all about, she appears to have accused him of being “spoiled”. Well, there’s a thing. Those who know him wouldn’t be shocked. Boris’ main rival for the top job – Michael Gove, not the patsy Jeremy Hunt – must wonder what might have been if this embarrassing incident has occurred about a week ago. It might even tempt Gove to believe that maybe it is not too late. I doubt Gove's ambition has been permanently becalmed.

I noticed something Michael Gove said during the Channel 4 TV debate last Sunday. I know, it seems like a lifetime ago now, but in the blue haze of the last week’s sound bites, boasts and evasions, it struck me as being one of the few moments of real personal candour. Reflecting on his adoptive parents, Gove said that they had chosen him, and, in return, (words to the effect that) every day he wanted to repay to them the faith and love they had showed him.

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It was, literally, a humbling moment. Though regarded as a posh sort of character, and undoubtedly prosperous, Gove was, so we see now, not quite a full member of the Notting Hill set. Maybe something........

© Independent