Michael Gove formally announced his bid for Britain’s Conservative Party leadership race on Friday, as a party bigwig called on him to get out of the race altogether.
During his formal launch for the leadership on Friday the Justice Secretary said: “I am standing not as a result of calculation but because I have burning desire to transform this country.” Gove added he did not want the role of Prime Minister and “did everything I could not to be a candidate,” but concluded that his pro-Brexit colleague former London Mayor Boris Johnson was not the right person for the job. “I had to stand up for my convictions. I had to stand for the leadership of this party” says Gove.
Gove first announced his intentions on Thursday, having been widely expected to support Johnson. The shock move, which led the former Mayor to withdraw from the contest, was met with claims that he betrayed his ally on the Brexit campaign.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Conservative Party ‘grandee’ and former Treasury minister Ken Clarke said Gove should “would all do us a favour if he stood down now and speed up the process.” He said: “I do think one of the first priorities for a leader of a party and certainly a prime minister is that you should have the trust, as far as possible, of your colleagues.”
The five leadership contenders, which include Home Secretary Theresa May, face a vote among the party’s 329 lawmakers next Tuesday. The party membership will then be asked to choose between two leading candidates.