Gove joins rats leaving sinking Tory ship as Sunak visits Titanic Museum

Michael Gove has announced he is not standing for re-election as an MP ahead of the general election on July 4.

The secretary of state for Levelling Up is one of the longest-serving Conservative ministers and the last remaining high-profile MP from the David Cameron government elected in 2010.

The shock announcement is another blow to the Tory Party already scrambling to find candidates for almost a third of constituencies after Rishi Sunak announced the election on Wednesday.

And it comes just hours after the prime minister visited the Titanic Quarter in Belfast – where he was asked by reporters if he was “captaining a sinking ship going into the election”.

The secretary of state for Levelling Up, posted on X: “After nearly 20 years serving the wonderful people of Surrey Heath and over a decade in Cabinet across five government departments, I have today taken the decision to step down as a Member of Parliament.”

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Mr Gove said it was time for a “new generation” to lead and highlighted his time in various government roles, including as education secretary, Cabinet office minister and housing secretary.

Mr Gove will not stand at the upcoming general election (PA Wire)

In his letter addressed to Surrey Heath conservative chair Stuart Black, he says: “Having the chance to serve as a Member of Parliament and Minister has been a profound privilege.

“As a child in Aberdeen I could never have imagined I would have the opportunity to sit in the Commons, let alone around the Cabinet table.

“My parents, who adopted me when I was four months old, brought me up to believe that the chance to help others is the greatest gift you can be given.

“That four prime ministers asked me to serve the country in their governments has been the honour of my life.”

He conceded: “I also know the toll office can take, as do those closest to me. No one in politics is a conscript. We are volunteers who willingly choose our fate. And the chance to serve is wonderful.

“But there comes a moment when you know that it is time to leave. That a new generation should lead.”

Michael Gove had appeared at the head of a Lib Dem hit list of top Tory targets they believe they can unseat (AFP via Getty Images)

He listed his achievements over his near two decades in Parliament, such as spearheading the Vote Leave campaign, introducing the Homes for Ukraine scheme, promoting rehabilitation as justice secretary and strengthening the Union with Scotland.

He concluded: “Throughout my time in politics, although I have undoubtedly made mistakes, I have always tried to be a voice for those who have been overlooked and undervalued. I have tried to fight for greater social justice.

“My education reforms were designed to build a country where everyone – no matter their background – can become the authors of their own life stories. For me that is what being in Parliament and being in Government is all about.”

Rishi Sunak is scrambling for candidates already (AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Gove had appeared at the head of a Lib Dem hit list of top Tory targets they believe they can unseat in the general election.

It is understood that when Mr Sunak made his rain-sodden announcement on the steps of Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon, candidates for 191 of the 650 seats still needed to be selected.

Since then more vacancies have occurred with a number of Tory MPs announcing they will retire with the total now standing at 78 – breaking the 1997 record of 75.

Andrea Leadsom has announced her decision not to stand at the general election, making a post-war record-breaking exodus of Tory MPs leaving Parliament.

Health minister Dame Andrea Leadsom appearing before the Health and Social Care Committee (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire)

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted on X, the former Commons leader said she had come to the decision after “careful reflection” but did not go into detail about her reasons for quitting.

Addressing Mr Sunak, the health minister said: “I would like to thank you for your faith in giving me the responsibility as Minister for Start for Life, Primary Care and Public Health.”

She added: “I will continue to support the Conservative Party through this general election and in the future as the party best aligned with the ideals and values of the people of the United Kingdom.”

Rishi Sunak has said he is “pumped up” and enjoying himself two days into the general election campaign, despite a difficult start that saw him soaked in Downing Street as he announced the election, make a footballing gaffe and be mocked for visiting the Titanic Quarter.

Source: UK Politics -


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