Michael Gove appears to have changed his mind about Boris Johnson. Now he thinks the former London mayor would make a “great” Prime Minister.
Gove, who was accused of stabbing his fellow Brexiter in the back in 2016 to throw his own hat in the ring for the Tory leadership, is now backing Johnson to lead the country.
Back in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, Gove decided Johnson was “not capable” of taking the country’s top job.
In contrast, today the environment secretary heaped praise upon his former rival, seen as the frontrunner against fellow candidate Jeremy Hunt.
“I know they both would be great prime ministers and I want to affirm today that we can trust them both to do the right thing on every critical issue facing us and of course most critically on the environment,” Gove said in a speech.
Gove launched his own leadership bid last month as 13 Tories attempted to win votes to replace Theresa May in 10 Downing Street.
Then, he accused Johnson of avoiding the media inside a “bunker”
Knocked out in the penultimate round, today Gove refused to confirm whether he would support Johnson or Hunt for the top job.
However, he praised Johnson’s performance as a politician and in May’s cabinet as foreign secretary.
“Boris has been passionate about the environment for decades,” he said.
“When I first met him in the ‘80s he described himself to me as a passionately green Tory, and in every role he has had he has championed the environment.
“As foreign secretary he has been a powerful and persuasive voice on safeguarding wildlife from exploitation, protecting our oceans and fighting climate change.”
Johnson has backed a “do or die” Brexit in his quest to become Prime Minister. He plans to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by the end of the current 31 October deadline.
Both candidates have ruled out the Irish backstop from any possible deal, heightening the risk of a no-deal Brexit.
The backstop was a key tenet of May’s Brexit deal.
It was designed to prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland but it proved wildly unpopular with MPs, who rejected May’s withdrawal agreement three times.