Gove outlines his desire not to be PM... during pitch to be PM
The one-time education minister pitched his candidacy to the press on Friday, in a small room at the center right think tank Policy Exchange in London.
Speaking a day after his opponent Home Secretary Theresa May kicked off her campaign, Brexiteer Gove said he was standing “out of conviction not ambition.”
His speech was panned by the press as “cheesy,” dull and long, as the Surrey Heath MP took over half an hour to outline his intentions to lead Britain out of the European Union (EU).
He also proposed an end to freedom of movement between Britain and other European countries, as well as introducing an “Australian-style points-based system for immigration” where visa applicants are awarded points for their English and work skills.
“I will ensure we honor the instructions the British people have given us," said the Justice Secretary.
"I argued for specific changes in the referendum campaign, I believe in them, I will deliver them. The promise to leave the European Union, to end the supremacy of EU law and take back control of our democracy. With my leadership, it will be delivered."
Explaining why he had politically stabbed his colleague Boris Johnson in the back, after initially backing his leadership run, he said: “I did not want it, indeed I did almost everything not to be a candidate for the leadership of this party.
"I was so very reluctant because I know my limitations. Whatever charisma is, I don't have it. Whatever glamour may be, I don't think anyone could ever associate me with it.”
Yet the cabinet member was later accused of “misleading” Leave voters by the UK statistics authority, after promising he’d redirect £350 million (US$465 million) a week of the current EU funds straight into the NHS.
In his Friday speech Gove proposed a more humble £100 million a week instead.
Taking a dig at his adversary and quiet Remain campaigner May, Gove added that in the process of Brexit, Britain needed “not just a cool head, but a heart burning with the desire for change ... not business as usual but a bold vision.”
But the jokes on the senior politician have been piling up ever since he announced his leadership intentions.
Someone registered the domain gove2016.co.uk where the only content is a cartoon by artist Stephen Collins, depicting Gove crashing a plane he had previously begged Prime Minister David Cameron to pilot.
In 2012 Michael Gove repeatedly told BBC Radio 4 he “could not be prime minister.”
Indeed, he repeated: “I’m not equipped to be prime minister. I don’t want to be prime minister.”