Looks like #GoveVsMogg as Scot fails to deny positioning for leadership bid

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DEFRA (Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Secretary Michael Gove has been the subject of increasing social media rumours claiming that he is positioning for a move to topple Prime Minister Theresa May after Parliament resumes following MPs’ summer break – and even that he has the support of media mogul Rupert Murdoch for the bid, as the two have long been mutual admirers:

Gove has called Murdoch a great man:

I’m a great admirer of Rupert Murdoch, he’s a force of nature, a phenomenon, he’s a great man.

Murdoch, for his part, has spoken of Gove’s:

qualities rare in modern politics: integrity, intellectual rigor and, rarest of all, personal courage.

The Tories have already declined to deny that Murdoch’s influence caused Gove’s recent re-appointment to a cabinet position as DEFRA Secretary and it’s possible that this was just an interim move to put the Scot in a position to be able to start manoeuvring for another tilt at the Tory leadership.

In the last week, in spite of Parliament being in recess, Gove has come out with emphatic, populist statements on ‘hot topics’ – that the UK having to accept US chlorine-washed chicken would be a ‘red line‘ in any US-UK trade deal and stepping into the clean-air issue by announcing that the government would ban new diesel or petrol vehicles from 2040.

A source who knew Gove during his time as Education Secretary told the SKWAWKBOX:

He’s definitely preparing the ground. Watch out for more interventions during the summer.

The fact that his electric-only plan is, according to press reports today, already starting to unravel is entirely illustrative of the Tories’ current chaos and incompetence, but in no way undermines the idea that Gove is exploiting his Murdoch-induced revival to plant a flag in readiness for a leadership bid.

The SKWAWKBOX likes to go straight to the heart of the matter where possible, so as his parliamentary office is not taking calls, presumably because of the recess, we emailed Mr Gove and his press office a formal press enquiry with the following questions and a 24-hour deadline of noon today for a response:

There are reports on social media that you are preparing a leadership bid and even rumours that Rupert Murdoch may support it.

Is there any substance to these reports and do you categorically rule out a leadership challenge in future?

The reports mentioned below seem to be strengthening after Michael’s interventions on food imports from the US and on car pollution, so a fast response is requested.

Gove once name-checked the SKWAWKBOX on Newsnight as a source of ‘pluralistic’ news for those who reject the right-wing press, so he’s well aware of us and not able to plead ignorance. So far, no response has been received in spite of reminders and attempts to reach Gove or his Westminster staff by phone continue to hit a brick wall, while his constituency staff say they are unable to provide a response.

Given the manufactured Moggmentum ‘groundswell’ of support for Jacob Rees-Mogg as the next Tory leader, if Gove does proceed with a challenge the British people face a choice of replacing the ‘MayBot’ with what one wag termed a politician in a ‘human suit’, or with the ‘Minister for the 19th century’.

Neither of which is likely to bring the Tories closer to their aim of appearing relevant to newly-engaged younger voters.

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  1. It is a close call as to which of these two being elected leader would be a bigger gift to the Labour party – I give the verdict to the “Honourable Member for the 18th Century” by a short head.

  2. Like a choice between horsesh*t & cowsh*t…both stink, and there’s plenty of it in that party. Isn’t one of them I could think of would make me genuinely fearful of a tory revival. And no amount of Murdoch’ll make a difference, in my estimation.

    The only thing preventing a labour govt at the next election is the right-wing tossers infesting it.

    1. Freshly disturbed Dogsh*t & Foxsh*t… Both can cause involuntary retching. Your to kind with horse & cowsh*t. Sorry for the correction, otherwise the rest of the post is spot on.

  3. Don’t underestimate either:
    Gove is cunning and manipulative, and Rees-Mogg is not nearly as stupid as he looks.
    Having said that, I’d be happier with R-M; he’s left a boatload of quotes showing his inability to understand normal human beings, which will haunt him going forward.
    Gove isn’t nearly so easy.
    Murdoch said “qualities rare in modern politics: integrity, intellectual rigor and, rarest of all, personal courage.”
    Which I’ve translated for you: “qualities common in modern toriess: no integrity, cunning as a fox and, commonest of all, willing to stab colleagues in the back.” He has to be favourite, of those two.

  4. How can either of these even get anywhere near the leadership of the Tory party(half brained as they are) Gove stabbed BoJo in the back so he won’t be pleased and will probably do his best to stop him. The right honourable member (if that’s the right word) Rees Mogg is a throwback to almost medieval times and would not fit in to todays society. God help us all if the Tories ever get in again

  5. “qualities rare in modern politics: integrity, intellectual rigor and, rarest of all, personal courage.”

    Nice of Rupert Murdoch to finally recognise Jeremy Corbyn’s qualities!

  6. Of the two, a choice between the awful or the diabolical, I think Gove would be best, from a Labour left point of view. The voters already know that he is incompetent, a liar (remember the £350 million, for the NHS), untrustworthy and altogether an unsuitable person to be an MP, let alone the PM.

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