Michael Gove’s newly-formed campaign team have been ringing around shocked Tory MPs in the past couple of hours to explain why the Justice Secretary pulled out of running Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign to launch his own bid, I understand.
Dominic Raab, who had also been signed up to the Boris campaign, has been telling colleagues that Boris had proved to be flaky, and that he had not been offering key jobs to figures such as Andrea Leadsom when he had been supposed to – hence Leadsom’s own declaration this morning. They were also disappointed with the quality of people around Boris – a comment that has infuriated other Tory MPs who had been supporting the former Mayor.
There is also a theory doing the rounds in the ex-Boris camp that Gove was actually carrying out the dirty work of David Cameron and George Osborne in their final attempt to stop Boris Johnson. This has been vehemently denied by Gove’s campaign team whenever it has been raised with them. Even if it has no basis at all, Tory MPs may now find they have difficulty trusting someone who turned on his friend and colleague at the last minute in the most humiliating way.