Michael Gove steps down in mass exodus of MPs before election


In a letter to his local Conservative Association chairman, Mr Gove thanked party members for helping him to win his seat at five general elections.

He said his parents, who adopted him when he was four months old, brought him up with the belief that “to help others is the greatest gift you can be given” as he grew up in Aberdeen.

Mr Gove said he could “never have imagined” having the opportunity to be an MP sitting in the Commons, “let alone around the Cabinet table” serving under four prime ministers – an unbroken 14 years apart from the brief premiership of Liz Truss.

He said he was grateful to Lord Cameron for giving him the chance to pursue education reform, Mrs May “who asked me to support her in challenging times”, and Mr Johnson “who delivered Brexit and set out the levelling up vision”.

Mr Sunak, he added, “asked me to return to government when I believed my ministerial career had ended” and allowed him to pursue the cause of levelling up.

In a hint at his 2022 divorce from journalist Sarah Vine, who he married in 2001 and with whom he has two children, Mr Gove said: “I also know the toll office can take, as do those closest to me.”

He added: “The chance to serve is wonderful. but there comes a time when you know that it is time to leave. That a new generation should lead.”

On Brexit, he said: “I am proud to have led the Vote Leave campaign alongside Boris Johnson and Gisela Stuart – which secured the largest mandate in modern British history for a vote to leave the European Union and take back control of our political destiny.

“Fundamentally our country is stronger with politicians in Westminster able to control our laws, our borders and our money.

“Since 2016 we have also increased NHS funding by considerably more than £350m a week.”

Although he said “I have undoubtedly made mistakes”, Mr Gove said he had “always tried to be a voice for those who have been overlooked and undervalued”.

“I have tried to fight for greater social justice. My education reforms were designed to build a country where everyone – no matter their background – can become the authors of their own life stories,” he added.


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