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Gove launches Tory leadership bid with swipe at Johnson

Michael Gove will not be backing Boris Johnson as Tory leader and has decided to stand himself. Credit: PA

Michael Gove is to stand for the Conservative Party leadership, saying he does not believe Boris Johnson can "provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead".

The Justice Secretary said events since last Thursday's EU referendum have "weighed heavily" with him and he has made the decision not to back Mr Johnson "reluctantly".

Mr Gove's decision to stand as leader comes as a surprise as he has repeatedly said he did not want to be prime minister, and "that has always been my view", he said.

I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future.

But I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead.

I have, therefore, decided to put my name forward for the leadership. I want there to be an open and positive debate about the path the country will now take.

Whatever the verdict of that debate I will respect it. In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change.

– Michael Gove

Mr Johnson and Theresa May will formally launch their bids to become Tory leader on Thursday morning, ahead of the 12 noon deadline.

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