BBCs Mishal Husain has Gove on the spot as he defends Boris

Mishal Husain has Gove on the spot on Boris relationship

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Michael Gove was one of the first cabinet ministers to advise Boris Johnson to resign at the beginning of July following multiple resignations. The former Housing Secretary was the only minister to lose his post after dozens of ministers quit Mr Johnson’s Government. But Mr Gove has since defended his relationship with the outgoing Prime Minister saying he has “great respect” for him.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “It’s been quite difficult and I had a private conversation with him earlier in the day in which I said that I foresaw a significant number of resignations and his position becoming increasingly difficult.

“I thought he should get ahead of that and that he should announce his own departure in his own way rather than face a vote of confidence the next week which I didn’t think would be the right way for his premiership to end.

“Boris entirely legitimately and understandably took a different view.”

Ms Husain interjected: “Not just took a different view, decided to sack you.

“I wonder if it was personal, if it was revenge for 2016?”

Mr Gove continued: “I don’t think so. I think he wanted to stand and fight and in order to stand and fight and show he was reconstructing his Government.

“Boris and I have had our disagreements but I have a reservoir of affection for him but also great respect for what he did in office as well.”

It comes as Mr Gove said he will carry on as an MP amid speculation that he could resign his seat in Parliament.

Last month the Conservative former cabinet minister said he does not expect to serve in government again.

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On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that a Liberal Democrat source said the party had heard from several sources in Surrey Heath that Mr Gove could be about to resign the seat.

Mr Gove, a supporter of Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership race, was also non-committal when asked if he would support a budget put forward by Liz Truss that contained tax cuts while inflation remained at current levels.

“Obviously if Liz wins and she brings forward a budget, I, like everyone, will look at the measures. But it’s my natural instinct always to support the leader of the Conservative Party,” he told the BBC.

Amid reports that the Lib Dems are targeting his seat because they believe he is about to resign, Mr Gove told LBC: “It’s not so. I will be continuing as MP for Surrey Heath for as long as my constituents want me.”

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Asked if he will be at the “top table” if Liz Truss wins the Conservative leadership race, Mr Gove said: “I don’t think so. I think Liz has got a very very talented team of supporters. She will want to make sure that she has a cabinet wholly aligned with her agenda and plans.”

In reference to a rugby metaphor used by Boris Johnson before he became Prime Minister, Mr Gove was asked if he would pick up the ball if it came out of the back of the scrum.

“I think anyone who has seen me play rugby would know that if the ball were to come out of the back of the scrum it would be very, very difficult for me to pick it up. I’d almost certainly fumble it and fall flat on my face in the mud,” he said.

“I don’t anticipate at all being in government if Liz wins.”

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