• Tuesday, June 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Michael Gove’s departure adds to Tory exodus before election

Michael Gove, a Brexit supporter, has had a career marked by political disputes and comebacks. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Michael Gove, a prominent member of Rishi Sunak’s government, announced his resignation on Friday, becoming the highest profile Conservative lawmaker to leave parliament ahead of the July general election.

Gove, who has held various ministerial roles including education, justice, and environment, is the 77th Tory MP to declare they will not run for re-election.

The 56-year-old, who has served under four Conservative Party prime ministers since 2015, shared his decision on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“After nearly twenty years serving the wonderful people of Surrey Heath (his constituency) and over a decade in cabinet across five government departments, I have today taken the decision to step down,” he wrote.

Sunak ended months of speculation by calling a general election for July 4. With his Conservatives trailing the main opposition Labour Party in opinion polls, the numerous MPs standing down is seen by some as a sign of demoralisation among Sunak’s lawmakers.

Some polls give Labour leader Keir Starmer a more than 20-point lead over the Tories.

Gove, a Brexit supporter, has had a career marked by political disputes and comebacks. He was education minister in David Cameron’s government before opposing him during the 2016 referendum campaign on leaving the European Union. He initially supported Boris Johnson to become the new Conservative leader before launching his own unsuccessful bid.

He joined Johnson’s cabinet after the 2019 election but was sacked after telling the then prime minister his time in Downing Street was up as the 2022 government fell apart.

Other high-profile figures who have announced they will not seek re-election in July include former Prime Minister Theresa May, Northern Ireland Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, former armed forces minister James Heappey, and former defence minister Ben Wallace.

(AFP)

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