‘I’ll serve under any leader’ Gove outlines Cabinet hopes as he denies Sunak plot

Gove: I’ll serve under any Conservative leader

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The former Levelling Up Secretary confirmed he would serve on the Government of any of the hopeful leadership candidates despite publicly backing Kemi Badenoch above her contenders. Mr Gove, who was dramatically fired from his Cabinet position by the outgoing Prime Minister, appeared to have high hopes of returning to his previous Government standing under fresh leadership. To accompany his Cabinet aspirations, Mr Gove also denied the existence of a secretive strategic plot within the Tory party to ensure fellow former Cabinet member Rishi Sunak succeeded Boris Johnson.

Speaking on LBC, host Andrew Marr referenced rumours proposed by Conservative MP Steve Baker of a “clever plot” to secure the victory of Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest.

Mr Marr dubbed the plan the “Rishi Sunak operation” as he suggested: “Right at the end, Kemi Badenoch will fold into Rishi Sunak.”

Mr Gove denied the speculation of his party colleague: “He’s wrong about that.”

He continued: “I’ve been involved in leadership elections myself, backing David Cameron and running twice myself, unsuccessfully – it just doesn’t work like that.”

Mr Gove asserted the leadership contest would present a fair opportunity for the most favourable candidate to succeed Boris Johnson and denied the existence of any underlying strategic effort.

“MPs make their own minds up.”

Concerning his backing of Kemi Badenoch in the leadership race, he added: “There are friends of mine who might listen to what I have to say but there are friends of mine who have said ‘we like her but we’re going to support another candidate Michael’ and I completely understand.”

Mr Gove described the allegations of a plot to secure the former Chancellor as the next Prime Minister as “feverish conspiracy theories.”

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Mr Marr continued on to ask if the former Levelling Up Secretary would serve in the Cabinet of Ms Badenoch’s opposition candidates.

Mr Gove replied: “I’ll serve in any Government if any Conservative leader asks me to. 

“Whether or not they will, we will see, but I’m not counting on it.

“The key thing here is, I worked with Penny, Rishi is a friend of mine, Tom Tugendhat is a friend of mine, and Liz I’ve known for years, she was a great junior minister when I worked with her.”

He concluded: “I don’t wish anybody ill, I just think Kemi’s the best.”

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Mr Gove has been an avid public supporter of Kemi Badenoch since the early days of the Tory leadership contest. 

In an opinion piece for The Sun, Mr Gove said: “I have no hesitation in saying our next Prime Minister should be Kemi Badenoch.”

He added: “As a Tory leader, she would be Sir Keir Starmer’s worst nightmare.”

Ms Badenoch has retained her position in the race as she emerged from a third round of voting among MPs which saw her fellow candidate Tom Tugendhat eliminated from the contest.

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