Michael Gove to stand for Conservative leadership
Justice Secretary Michael Gove has launched his bid to be the next Conservative Party leader and UK prime minister.
In a shock move, prominent Brexitier Michael Gove has joined the race to become the next the leader of the UK government.
Many believed that Mr Gove would lend his support to fellow Leave figurehead Boris Johnson, following their victory last week.
Explaining his decision, he said: “I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be prime minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me.
“I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership.
“In particular, I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future.”
However, Mr Gove – a strong supporter of same-sex marriage – says he has “come to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.
“In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change,” he added.
“I want there to be an open and positive debate about the path the country will now take.
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“Whatever the verdict of that debate I will respect it. In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change.
Nominations for the Conservative Party leadership contest close at midday – with the winner set to be announced on September 9.
Home Secretary Theresa May – who has withdrawn plans to exit the European Court of Human Rights – also announced her intention to run for leader earlier today.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is widely expected to enter the race with a speech later, setting out his vision for the UK’s future outside the EU.
Energy minister and Brexit campaigner Andrea Leadsom is also running, joining former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb – who voted against marriage equality.