Michael Gove Stands Against Johnson, Leadsom And May In Race For U.K. Prime Minister

Michael Gove
Justice Secretary Michael Gove gives a speech at the Vote Leave campaign headquarters in Westminster on June 8, 2016 in London, England. Jack Taylor/Getty

Justice Secretary Michael Gove is to stand for Conservative Party leadership and U.K. Prime Minister, the BBC has reported.

He will stand against former Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Gove, a prominent figure in the Brexit campaign, had been expected to support Johnson's candidacy.

He said he was standing because he had come "to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead."

"In the next few days I will lay out my plan for the United Kingdom which I hope can provide unity and change," he said.

The news comes hours after Gove's wife, Sarah Vine, became embroiled in a leaked email furore.

Vine appears to have accidentally sent a message intended for her husband to a third party, in which she mentions Gove seeking "specific assurances" from Johnson.

She suggests her husband has concerns about Boris Johnson becoming the leader of the Conservative party and notes that her husband's support would "not be guaranteed."

Twitter has reacted to the news of Gove's announcement.

Westminster rife with reports of Tory MPs switching to Gove. Plus Mail and Murdoch big fans. Gove could be favourite by weekend!

— Andrew Neil (@afneil) June 30, 2016

Gove's full statement reads: "The British people voted for change last Thursday. They sent us a clear instruction that they want Britain to leave the European Union and end the supremacy of EU law. They told us to restore democratic control of immigration policy and to spend their money on national priorities such as health, education and science instead of giving it to Brussels. They rejected politics as usual and government as usual. They want and need a new approach to running this country.

"There are huge challenges ahead for this country but also huge opportunities. We can make this country stronger and fairer. We have a unique chance to heal divisions, give everyone a stake in the future and set an example as the most creative, innovative and progressive country in the world.

"If we are to make the most of the opportunities ahead we need a bold break with the past.

"I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be Prime Minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me.

"I respect and admire all the candidates running for the leadership. In particular, 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.

Gove told Boris Johnson five minutes ago

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) June 30, 2016

"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."

Gove will tear us apart

— Al Murray - DKMS.ORG.UK (@almurray) June 30, 2016

Brexit champion Andrea Leadsom has also today announced she will enter the race to become the next Tory leader.

Despite reports the energy minister would throw her backing behind ex-London mayor Boris Johnson—who will launch his leadership bid today—Leadsom will run as an individual candidate.

She wrote on Twitter this morning: "Delighted to say I'm running for the @Conservatives Leadership.

"Let's make the most of the Brexit opportunities! #FreshStart"

Leadsom, who previously worked in the City of London before entering politics, was a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum.

She starred in high-profile television debates alongside Johnson.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information become available