Michael Gove quits as Tory election exodus continues – POLITICO

Gove is just the latest Conservative MP to throw in the towel ahead of a July 4 election triggered by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week, with his party lagging badly in the polls.

It brings to 79 the number of Tories are stepping down, with the total now surpassing the number of Conservatives who opted to quit before Tony Blair’s 1997 Labour landslide.

Former Cabinet minister Greg Clark added his name to the growing list Friday, alongside veteran Euroskeptic John Redwood.

Gove, a former journalist, gained a reputation as a zealous reformer of public services in government, railing against the Whitehall machine and schooling establishment in his days as David Cameron’s education secretary, dubbing them “the blob.”

He campaigned strongly for Britain to quit the EU in 2016, a decision that put him at odds with Cameron and many of his Cabinet colleagues.

His decision to run for the leadership after Cameron quit effectively killed Boris Johnson’s first 2016 run for the top job, after he said his hitherto close friend lacked the qualities to lead. But he was brought into the government fold when Johnson eventually became prime minister in 2019.

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