Michael Gove not standing for re-election is 'very significant', says Starmer

25 May 2024, 13:35 | Updated: 25 May 2024, 14:26

Michael Gove made the announcement on Friday evening
Michael Gove made the announcement on Friday evening. Picture: Alamy

By Flaminia Luck

Sir Keir Starmer says the announcement that Michael Gove won't stand for re-election in the upcoming General Election is "very significant."

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The Housing Secretary and prominent Conservative MP announced his resignation on Friday saying it's time for a new generation to lead frontline politics.

On Friday, Dame Andrea Leadsom made the same announcement she would be stepping down.

They become the 77th and 78th Tory MPs to announce they will step down before the upcoming election - more than the 72 in 1997 when Labour stormed to victory under Tony Blair.

Speaking in an interview in Stafford on Saturday, the Labour leader said: "I do think that Michael Gove is very significant because he did have a reputation as a person who could deliver in government and if he has now lost faith in what Rishi Sunak is putting forward and however he explains it he has lost faith, he wouldn't be getting off the bus if he has faith in what Rishi Sunak was saying.

"It does beg the question if the likes of Michael Gove has decided this is going nowhere with Rishi Sunak why should the voters really put their vote and their trust in Rishi Sunak, when Michael Gove is getting off the bus."

The Labour leader is on his third day of the campaign trail and was discussing issues such as the cost of living with local residents in the West Midlands.

Read More: Tory exodus breaks 1997 record as number of MPs standing down hits 77 - including the 'bionic MP' Craig Mackinlay

Read More: Is my MP standing down? Full list of current MPs quitting their seats ahead of General Election

Sir Keir Starmer on campaign trail in Stafford, in the West Midlands
Sir Keir Starmer on campaign trail in Stafford, in the West Midlands. Picture: Alamy

'Entirely supportive'

However, Sir John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, who is also stepping down has offered a different view on the Tory exodus.

He told LBC: "We're all whether we are staying on or going off to do other things, owe it to the public to show that we have a really good set of proposals for the next five years and that we are serious about supporting the current government in its attempt to get re-elected.

"So, I don't think having a long debate about why people might be leaving and what the actually think about the current leadership at this juncture is at all appropriate, so far all the statements I've seen from Conservative MPs stepping down are entirely supportive of the Conservative party and want to see a Conservative government re-elected, opposition may try to make out otherwise."

Read more: Teenager arrested on suspicion of murder after woman stabbed to death on beach in Bournemouth

Sir Keir also reaffirmed his confidence in Labour securing candidates despite the last minute nature of the election announcement.

"Very confident we will fill the Labour seats, we got no end of people coming forward who want to be Labour candidates, our problem is the opposite that we've got too many people wanting to be candidates and we need to filter them down to make sure we've got the best possible candidate in every possible seat, they've got very few people coming forward and every day people get off the bus."

Starmer speaks to a local resident about the cost of living in the West Midlands
Starmer speaks to a local resident about the cost of living in the West Midlands. Picture: Alamy