UK’s Gove backs Sunak, hints not to rejoin government

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Michael Gove, the former U.K. minister who shepherded Boris Johnson’s “leveling up” project, has backed Rishi Sunak for the Conservative leadership.

In an op-ed in the Times, Gove says the bid of Sunak’s rival and the frontrunner, Liz Truss, is not the “right answer for the world we face.”

Truss’s program “does not address the fundamental problems of potential neglected, productivity suppressed and the vulnerable suffering the most,” Gove says.

Sunak, on the contrary, “makes the right arguments,” Gove writes.

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He defends Sunak’s tax plans — saying that the current tax burden is “a consequence of COVID, not Rishi’s inner preferences.”

“He was always trying to rein in departmental expenditure so we could focus on essentials and cut tax in future. I know, because I was on the receiving end of his meticulous search for savings,” Gove says.

Currently, Sunak is trailing Truss in the polls — POLITICO’s Poll of Polls has Truss at 57 percent and Sunak at 31 percent among Conservative Party members.

Gove describes it as a “bandwagon […] clattering down Whitehall,” adding that he believes Conservative members will vote for Sunak.

Gove, who was sacked by Johnson in early July, supported Kemi Badenoch earlier in the leadership race, but she didn’t make it to the final stage.

Gove rules out a return to a ministerial post. “I do not expect to be in government again.”