Michael Gove backs Rishi Sunak for PM – and says his own Cabinet career is over

·2 min read
Rishi Sunak - Molly Darlington/Reuters
Rishi Sunak - Molly Darlington/Reuters

Michael Gove on Friday backed Rishi Sunak’s bid to become Prime Minister and declared that his own Cabinet career was now over.

Mr Gove, the former levelling up secretary, said Liz Truss’s plan for tax cuts was a “holiday from reality” and would benefit “FTSE 100 executives before the poorest”.

He contrasted her economic priorities with the former chancellor’s vow to provide direct help to pensioners and low earners to help them through the winter.

“The answer to the cost of living crisis cannot be simply to reject further ‘handouts’ and cut tax,” he wrote in The Times, attacking the Foreign Secretary’s stance.

“Proposed reductions to national insurance would favour the wealthy, and changes to corporation tax apply to big businesses, not small entrepreneurs.”

Mr Gove, who was sacked by Boris Johnson after telling the Prime Minister to quit, also declared that he does “not expect to be in Government again”.

“It was the privilege of my life to spend 11 years in the Cabinet under three prime ministers. I know what the job requires. And Rishi has it,” he wrote.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss appeared at a hustings in Manchester on Friday - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss appeared at a hustings in Manchester on Friday - Leon Neal/Getty Images

His endorsement came after the two Tory leadership contenders clashed once more at a hustings in Manchester. 

Mr Sunak was introduced with a new video montage that billed him as the “underdog” in the race who will not "give up”.

He won applause by vowing to “fight until the last day of this contest” and insisted he was “winning the argument” on the economy.

During the debate both candidates hit out at Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, and pledged to do more to hold regional leaders to account for their failings.

Ms Truss, the leadership frontrunner, suggested she would end the ban on new grammar schools so children “across the country” could benefit from them.

She also vowed to slash red tape on farmers, who she said were having to spend “too much time filling forms” rather than producing food.