Gove says he is more ‘capable’ of delivering Brexit than Boris

Michael Gove has today announced his candidacy for the Tory leadership with a veiled attack on old rival and front runner Boris Johnson

In what has been perceived as a stab at the former London Mayor, the Environment Secretary said that the next leader cannot just ‘respect’ the Brexit vote but must have the ‘wherewithal to deliver it’. 

This echoes the 2016 Conservative contest when Gove famously sank Johnson’s campaign by quitting as its chairman and insisting he was unfit to be leader. 

Gove’s entry into the race for Downing Street grows an already crowded field of prime ministerial hopefuls which has seen big beasts Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom set out their leadership stalls.

The Conservative Party leadership contest has redrawn old battle lines as Michael Gove announced his candidacy by making a sly stab at front runner Boris Johnson

The Conservative Party leadership contest has redrawn old battle lines as Michael Gove announced his candidacy by making a sly stab at front runner Boris Johnson

The Conservative Party leadership contest has redrawn old battle lines as Michael Gove announced his candidacy by making a sly stab at front runner Boris Johnson

In what has been perceived as a stab at the former London Mayor (pictured), the Environment Secretary said that the next leader cannot just 'respect' the Brexit vote but must have the 'wherewithal to deliver it'

In what has been perceived as a stab at the former London Mayor (pictured), the Environment Secretary said that the next leader cannot just 'respect' the Brexit vote but must have the 'wherewithal to deliver it'

In what has been perceived as a stab at the former London Mayor (pictured), the Environment Secretary said that the next leader cannot just ‘respect’ the Brexit vote but must have the ‘wherewithal to deliver it’

It echoes the 2016 Conservative contest when Gove famously sank Johnson's campaign by quitting as its chairman and insisting he was unfit to be leader

It echoes the 2016 Conservative contest when Gove famously sank Johnson's campaign by quitting as its chairman and insisting he was unfit to be leader

It echoes the 2016 Conservative contest when Gove famously sank Johnson’s campaign by quitting as its chairman and insisting he was unfit to be leader

But Liz Truss, who has been ramping up efforts to appeal to the free-market wing of the party and was supposedly poised to make her pitch, announced that she would not be standing. 

Johnson, who is popular with the Tory grassroots and is perceived as the favourite to succeed the embattled Theresa May, has come under fire from Gove who reportedly claims to be more ‘capable’ and have the better ‘track record’. 

In a BBC podcast, Gove will say that ‘it is not enough for them [next leader] to just believe in Brexit. The next leader must respect it, believe in it and, crucially, have the wherewithal to deliver it,’ according to the Sunday Times

Despite last week hailing his former rival as a man of ‘intellect’, this latest jibe will heap tension on the warring pair who fell out in the aftermath of the referendum. 

Dominic Raab (pictured with his wife) has become a cheerleader for a hard Brexit since stepping down as Brexit secretary in November

Dominic Raab (pictured with his wife) has become a cheerleader for a hard Brexit since stepping down as Brexit secretary in November

Dominic Raab (pictured with his wife) has become a cheerleader for a hard Brexit since stepping down as Brexit secretary in November

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom

Former Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom and Foreign Jeremy Hunt have also thrown their hats into the ring to succeed Theresa May

Gove also tried to rally Brexiteer MPs to his campaign by telling them that while Johnson was the face of the Vote Leave team, he put in the grunt work of TV debates, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Westminster then went into meltdown as Gove, who had been chairing Johnson’s campaign, sensationally threw his hat in the ring by insisting that the former Mayor was unfit to be prime minister.   

And the Environment Secretary is not alone in trying to leapfrog Johnson in the polls and position himself as Mrs May’s successor.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab launched his own leadership bid today in an article for the Mail on Sunday.

Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television

Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television

Mr Hancock took stroopwafels in for Cabinet the day after he was pulled up for eating them on television

The hardline Eurosceptic pledged to ‘demonstrate unflinching resolve’ to secure Britain’s exit from the EU and vowed to leave with no deal if necessary.  

This position was mirrored by fellow Brexiteer and candidate Andrea Leadsom who told the Sunday Times that she would be prepare to walk away from negotiations with the 27-member bloc to secure a timely departure. 

Leadsom’s withdrawal in 2016 paved the way for May to take the keys to Number 10 after claims that being a mother gave her an edge over the then Home Secretary backfired.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen as a dark horse in the race and as a converted Brexiteer is positioning himself as a unity candidate.  

Johnson also took flak from development secretary and leadership contender Rory Stewart who said he would refused to serve in his cabinet.

What are the odds for the next prime minister?

Boris Johnson:

Former foreign secretary and mayor of London

Voted leave and has become an increasingly hardline Brexiteer 

As likely to make headlines over his private life

Has recently lost a lot of weight and smartened up his appearance

Leadership odds 5/4

Dominic Raab: 

Shortlived Brexit secretary last year, replacing David Davis in the hot seat

But walked in November over terms agreed by PM

Voted for Brexit in 2016

Leadership odds 5/1 

Michael Gove:

Leading Vote Leave figure in 2016 who now backs PM’s Brexit deal

Former journalist, 51, who stood for leadership in 2016

Was sacked as education minister by Theresa May

Later returned as Environment Minister

Leadship odds 8/1

Jeremy Hunt: 

The Foreign Secretary voted Remain

But has become an increasingly vocal Brexiteer

Former health secretary backs May’s deal

Has approached ministers about running as a unity candidate

Leadership odds 10/1

Rory Stewart: 

Penrith MP, 46, is a former tutor to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex

Old Etonian ex-soldier worked for Foreign Office in Iraq and set up a charity for the Prince of Wale sin Afghanistan

Voted for Remain and still backs a soft Brexit

Leadership odds 12/1

 Andrea Leadsom:

The Commons’ Leader challenged May in 2016

Voted for Brexit

Hosted Brexiteer ‘pizza party’ plot last year

Increasingly outspoken Brexiteer

Leadership odds 20/1

Penny Mordaunt:

The MP for Portsmouth North is a Royal Navy reservist

Highly regarded in Brexiteer circles

She has been consistently tipped to quit over Brexit b ut remains in the Cabinet

Once appeared in a swimsuit in a reality TV show

Leadership odds 28/1

 Sir Graham Brady:  

Quit on Friday as chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs

He went into Downing Street on Friday to tell Mrs May time was up

But his name was oddly missing from a later statement on leadership

Leadership odds 33/1

Sajid Javid:

The most senior cabinet contender

Voted Remain but wants to see Brexit delivered

Faced criticism as Home Secretary

But has taken a hard line on Shamima Begum case

Leadership odds 33/1

Matt Hancock:

The youngest front-runner at 40

A Remainer who now backs Theresa May’s Brexit deal

He wants the party to look to the future and attract younger voters

Leadership odds 50/1

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