Exclusive

Michael Gove u-turn revealed, leaked emails show he was due to stand just the day before he announced decision to quit

28 May 2024, 11:43 | Updated: 28 May 2024, 12:45

Michael Gove u-turn revealed, leaked emails show he was due to stand just the day before he announced decision to quit
Michael Gove u-turn revealed, leaked emails show he was due to stand just the day before he announced decision to quit. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

LBC has been told that Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, who last week made the shock announcement that he would be standing down as the MP for Surrey Heath, was due to be the candidate as recently as the day before his announcement.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, who has served in a variety of Cabinet positions since 2010, announced on Friday that he was stepping down from Parliament at the next General Election yet an email from his local Conservative Association the day before claimed he would be the candidate.

In a statement on X on Friday the Conservative MP said it had been “wonderful” to serve and that being a Minister was an “honour” but conceded that “there comes a moment when you know that it is the time to leave”

The email, addressed to ‘Members of the Surrey Heath Conservative Association’ claimed on numerous occasions that Michael Gove was seeking re-election.

The briefing to local members said that “Michael Gove has been an exceptional representative for our constituency”, adding that there was a need “more than ever” to “rally together to secure his re-election and safeguard the future of Surrey Heath”.

It was also said that the Surrey Heath Conservative Association ‘management team’ is fully dedicated to making sure Michael Gove is re-elected”, saying that “they are working tirelessly”.

There had been speculation that Mr Gove’s seat could be at risk in light of a threat by the Liberal Democrats – who gained control of the local in 2023 after nearly 49 years of almost consecutive Conservative administration – but it was widely expected that the Cabinet Minister would stand again after reportedly telling Rishi Sunak “who dares, wins” at the crunch cabinet meeting before the announcement.

An email message seen by LBC
An email message seen by LBC. Picture: LBC/Alamy

In a plea to supporters in Surrey, the email read that residents deserved an MP with “experienced and trustworthy leadership, not an inexperienced politician making false promises and spreading lies.”

“Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to our shared Conservative values. Let’s come together, work hard, and ensure Michael Gove is re-elected as our MP.”

There has also been unconfirmed speculation that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson could stand in place of Michael Gove.

A Tory source told LBC Mr Gove took the decision to stand down on Friday morning, adding: "The great people of Surrey Heath resoundingly rejected Al Pinkerton and the Lib Dem lie machine in 2019 and will do so again."

Dr Alasdair Pinkerton, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Surrey Heath told LBC he would be disappointed he didn't have a chance to beat Mr Gove at the ballot box.

"Nonetheless, I’m disappointed that he’s stood down. Given the damage that Michael Gove done to the country - from education to local government - he deserved to be beaten at the ballot box, and I looked forward to doing that on 4th July."

"This is confirmation that people most taken by surprise by Rishi Sunak’s election announcement were the Tory party themselves - from Cabinet Ministers to local party associations, who are now scrabbling around for candidates in their hundreds. This hardly feels like a party with a “plan”.

"In terms of Michael Gove’s decision not to stand for reelection, I’m unsurprised. The fires have never burned brightly in Surrey Heath for Michael Gove. He’s long been an absentee MP, who didn’t live in Surrey Heath (he lived in London) and wasn’t an active part of our community. As a result, Surrey Heath has been neglected and residents taken for granted for the best part of 20 years. They’ve had enough, and I think he knew his time was up. Easier to stand down, than face residents in the eyes or at a hustings."

LBC has approached Surrey Heath Conservative Association and the local Labour Party for comment.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Heath alert issued for most of England as temperatures set to rise

Heat health alert to be issued for most of England as temperatures to soar amid fears for NHS

Boris Johnson has accused Nigel Farage of a "morally repugnant" repetition of Vladimir Putin's justification for the invasion of Ukraine

Boris Johnson blasts Nigel Farage for spreading 'Kremlin propaganda' over Russian invasion of Ukraine

Hungary's Kevin Csoboth, bottom, shoots past Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn, top, during a Group A match between Scotland and Hungary at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Scotland knocked out of Euro 2024 following Hungary's 100th-minute goal as collision sees star stretchered off

Elections betting scandal widens to include 'family and friends' of senior Tories

Election betting scandal widens to include 'family and friends' of senior Tories

Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at two synagogues killing six police before slitting priest's throat at Orthodox Church

Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at synagogue and Orthodox churches killing 15 police officers

Detective who probed Nicola Bulley offers services to Jay Slater's family as search for teen enters its second week

Investigator who probed Nicola Bulley offers services to Jay Slater's family as search targets remote buildings

M50 motorway Dublin

'Miracle' as schoolboy, 12, 'lucky to be alive' after toppling from toilet of moving coach onto motorway

Exclusive
'I just had to disappear': Carol Vorderman shares how grief led her to runaway following death of co-star Richard Whiteley

'I just had to disappear': Carol Vorderman shares how grief led her to runaway following death of Richard Whiteley

Alan Hansan

Ex-Liverpool captain Alan Hansen discharged from hospital

Manchester Airport boss apologises after 'power spike' sees mass cancellations as he gives flight status update

Flights from Manchester Airport 'expected to resume' on Sunday as travel boss apologises for mass cancellations

The highest temperatures of the summer are expected this week

Yellow heat-health alerts signal warm weather for most of England as temperatures to hit 30C

Passengers have been queuing for hours at Manchester Airport

All flights from two terminals at Manchester Airport cancelled as passengers urged not to travel

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice

Amanda Abbington forced to call police after being bombarded with death threats from troll fans of Giovanni Pernice

Exclusive
Robert Buckland has split from the PM and Home Secretary

Senior Tory splits from PM and Home Secretary as he calls for those involved in betting scandal to be suspended

James Cleverly joined LBC for Sunday with Lewis Goodall

Conservative candidate who described Rwanda policy as ‘crap’ did so to ‘shock his audience’, Home Secretary says

Jay

Jay Slater's father and brother make emotional pleas for return of the missing teenager