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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
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.
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.