Michael Gove becomes latest high profile Tory to stand down

Michael Gove becomes latest high-profile Tory to stand down

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has become the latest high-profile Tory MP to announce he is standing down ahead of the July 4 election.

The Housing Secretary joined a growing parliamentary exodus as he praised Rishi Sunak for representing “the very best virtues” of the Tory party but said “it is time to leave”.

Mr Gove, who has been MP for Surrey Heath since 2005, said: “I know the toll office can take, as do those closest to me. No-one in politics is a conscript.

“We are volunteers who willingly choose our fate. And the chance to serve is wonderful. But there comes a moment when you know that it is time to leave. That a new generation should lead.”

A post-war record of nearly 80 Conservative MPs have stepped down ahead of the General Election as the party languishes behind Labour in opinion polls.

The total number not seeking re-election on July 4 hit 77 on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 72 who quit prior to Sir Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide victory for Labour.

In a letter to the chairman of Surrey Heath Conservatives posted on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Gove conceded he had “undoubtedly made mistakes” throughout his political career but said he had always “tried to be a voice for those who have been overlooked and undervalued”.

In a show of support for Mr Sunak as campaigning for the General Election gets under way, he added: “We have a Prime Minister who I know exemplifies the patriotism, hard work, sense of selfless service and clarity of purpose which are the very best virtues of our party.

“He also has the policies which will guarantee a brighter, more prosperous future.”

Mr Sunak’s decision to call a summer election surprised many in Westminster, who had been expecting an autumn poll.

The news has caused disquiet among some Tory MPs fearful of losing their jobs, and reports suggest some Cabinet ministers voiced concerns about the decision.

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