Oh dear. This morning Sarah Vine surprised Daily Mail readers after she declared in her column that both she and her husband Michael Gove had been ‘charged with implementing the instructions of 17 million people’ following the Leave vote. While Vine’s central role in the Brexit negotiations prompted laughter in some quarters, it now transpires that she has been taking on a very hands-on role indeed.
Sky News have been passed an email from Vine setting out the Justice Secretary’s leadership plotting after she accidentally cc’ed in a member of public. The email — sent yesterday — raises some awkward questions for the pair. While a Gove/Boris joint ticket is on the cards, it is by no means a done deal, with Vine suggesting Gove exert caution before pairing with BoJo:
Very important that we focus now on the individual obstacles and thoroughly overcome them before moving to the next.
I really think Michael needs to have a Henry or a Beth [Gove’s Special Advisors] with him for this morning’s critical meetings.
One simple message you MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support.
The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage.
Crucially the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre / Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris / Gove ticket.
Do not concede any ground. Be your stubborn best.
Meanwhile, Vine’s comments about her Daily Mail boss Paul Dacre and former boss Rupert Murdoch are likely to only fuel concerns over the Brexiteers close ties with the media. Mr S suspects it may be for the best if Vine leaves such plotting to Gove in future.
Update: Gove has now announced that he will run for the leadership. Was this email laying out concerns over Boris really leaked accidentally?