Michael Gove has spoken of his regrets about his bid for the Conservative Party leadership, admitting he made “mistakes” in the way he declared he was withdrawing his support from Boris Johnson.
The former education secretary – whose dramatic intervention led Mr Johnson to pull out of the race to succeed David Cameron in June – said he now had to “take the consequences” of his decision, including the fact that an act of treachery has become widely known as “doing a Gove”.
Speaking to Fern Britton in an interview to be broadcast on BBC television tomorrow, Mr Gove said he accepted that Theresa May was “right” to tell him there was no place for him in her Cabinet, despite offering high-ranking jobs to his fellow-Brexiteers David Davis, Liam Fox and Mr Johnson. But Mr Gove, 49, appeared to indicate that he has not given up on a return to frontline politics, saying he hoped to be able to “make a contribution” in future.
Mr Gove said his decision to back Leave in the EU referendum had placed a “significant strain” on his relationship with Mr Cameron.
He and wife Sarah Vine had been close friends with the former PM and his wife Samantha, but have not had a “proper conversation” with the Camerons since the 23 June poll, he said.
He said the decision to campaign against Cameron for EU withdrawal “wasn’t easy”, but he felt that “it was better to say to David that I couldn’t support him and to go with my heart than to suppress my feelings on the matter”.
Mr Cameron “knew I was a Eurosceptic, but he thought I would either keep schtum or ... say ‘I am going to support the Prime Minister’,” he said. Mr Cameron “undoubtedly felt let down”, but behaved with “incredible decency”