Michael Gove backs Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership race - as he says Truss campaign has taken 'holiday from reality'

19 August 2022, 21:43 | Updated: 17 May 2023, 09:32

Mr Gove has backed Mr Sunak
Mr Gove has backed Mr Sunak. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Michael Gove has backed Rishi Sunak despite Liz Truss' apparently commanding lead – saying he does not expect to be back in frontline politics.

The Conservative MP, who most recently served as levelling up secretary, backed Mr Sunak by saying that the latter has what it takes to be Prime Minister.

The one-time Tory leadership hopeful also hit out at the current race of the job, as he said he worried about the "framing" of the debate between Mr Sunak and Ms Truss at a "time of want and hunger", and accused the latter's campaign of taking "a holiday from reality".

Writing in The Times, Mr Gove said: "I do not expect to be in government again. But it was the privilege of my life to spend 11 years in the cabinet under three prime ministers. I know what the job requires. And Rishi has it."

He claimed he does not accept that Ms Truss has already won, despite her strong polling among Tory members who will decide on their winner within weeks.

Read more: Rishi Sunak’s 'go-to' McDonald’s order with his family taken off menu over two years ago

Michael Gove announced he would leave frontline politics
Michael Gove announced he would leave frontline politics. Picture: Getty

He went on: "I am deeply concerned that the framing of the leadership debate by many has been a holiday from reality.

"The answer to the cost of living crisis cannot be simply to reject further 'handouts' and cut tax. Proposed reductions to national insurance would favour the wealthy, and changes to corporation tax apply to big businesses not small entrepreneurs.

"I cannot see how safeguarding the stock options of FTSE 100 executives should ever take precedence over supporting the poorest in our society, but at a time of want and hunger it cannot be the right priority."

Mr Gove previously supported Kemi Badenoch for leader, who is now set to join Ms Truss' cabinet if she wins the race for No10.

The backing will be of some help to Mr Sunak, who ended the week being ridiculed for revealing his usual McDonald's order - which was discontinued years ago.

The former Chancellor, who was named on Britain's Rich List this year, has tried to shed an image of him being extremely wealthy and out-of-touch.

When interviewed on This Morning he said: "When I'm with my daughters we will get the wrap.

"The wrap with the hash brown and everything in it is what we do."

But the item was taken off menus in Britain in March 2020 because of Covid-19 and formally discontinued in January this year.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Israel Palestinians

Israel ready to halt war during Ramadan if hostage deal reached, says Biden

Oleg Orlov

Moscow court jails human rights activist for 30 months for Ukraine war criticism

Richard Tice said he turned down two Tories who tried to join the party

Reform UK leader Richard Tice says he rejected two Tory MPs who tried to defect in the last year

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s father accused of punching photographer in the face in Sydney

"Any form of prejudice or racism" is unacceptable and does not show "who we are as a country", Mr Sunak said.

Rishi Sunak says he's 'living proof' the UK isn't racist after Lee Anderson refused to apologise for Islamist claim

Michael Tomlinson repeatedly refused to answer Nick Ferrari's question

Nick Ferrari cuts off minister who refuses to answer his questions nine times over Lee Anderson's 'Islamophobic remarks'

Rishi Sunak Launches Single-Use Vape Ban At A School In Darlington

Vape tax and another National Insurance cut could come in next week's Budget

The scam was reportedly worth £3million

British Airways supervisor 'on the run in India' after 'running £3m immigration scam' from Heathrow check-in desk

The men will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Three men charged in terror probe into 'extreme right wing activity'

Taylor Swift's father Scott Swift, 71, has been accused of assaulting a photographer

Taylor Swift's father Scott accused of ‘punching’ photographer ‘in the chops’

Biden is hopeful of a ceasefire by the end of the week

Biden 'hopeful' of ceasefire in Gaza by the 'end of the week' as hostage proposal sent to Hamas

Joe Biden eating ice cream with Seth Meyers

Joe Biden critics slam US President for eating ice cream as he answer questions on Gaza ceasefire

The British Transport Police has launched a manhunt

Manhunt after two boys attacked with ‘corrosive substance’ at London Tube station in latest incident to rock the capital

Australia Double Fatality

Police asked not to march at Sydney Mardi Gras parade after alleged murders

The MoD said the change came after 'listening to feedback'

Furious military wives force Army U-turn over plans to allocate accommodation based on number of children

The two girls went missing on Friday

Police launch urgent hunt for two missing girls, aged 13 and 17, who vanished last week