Michael Gove is back as he lands key role overseeing Brexit

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at 2016.10.26
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Michael Gove is back as he lands key role overseeing Brexit

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 9:43pm

Michael Gove, sacked by Theresa May and told “go and learn about loyalty on the backbenches”, is to make a comeback in a Brexit role.

The former justice secretary, accused of “treachery” towards Boris Johnson, has been elected to a powerful new committee of MPs, which will scrutinise the Brexit process in Parliament.

He is one of no fewer than eight Tory Leave campaigners elected to the 21-member committee, which will be chaired by the former Labour cabinet minister and Remain supporter, Hilary Benn.

The Tory Leave campaigners elected also include the former culture secretary John Whittingdale, former junior minister Dominic Raab and the veteran Tory eurosceptic former cabinet minister, Peter Lilley.

The line-up means three leading Brexit supporters sacked by the new Prime Minister in July – Mr Gove, Mr Whittingdale and Mr Raab – will now have a key role in holding the Government to account on the issue.

And in a major blow to Remain supporters, the outspoken former business minister Anny Soubry, who was prominent in the EU referendum campaign, failed to win election in a ballot of Conservative MPs.

Ex-minister Alistair Burt and backbencher Jeremy Lefroy were the only pro-Remain Tories elected. The other Brexit-backing Tories elected were Maria Caulfield, Andrea Jenkyns, Karl McCartney and Craig Mackinlay.

The Labour MPs elected to the all-party committee, which will monitor the work of David Davis’ Brexit department, are all prominent pro-Europeans and former senior frontbenchers who quit Mr Corbyn’s top team in protest against his leadership earlier this year.

They include two former shadow Europe ministers, Pat McFadden and Emma Reynolds, a former shadow treasury minister Seema Malhotra and the former government minister Stephen Timms. 

Despite the large number of Tory Leave supporters elected, the committee is expected to have a majority of Remain supporters, since there will also be two SNP members and one each from the Lib Dems, Democratic Unionist Party, the SDLP and Plaid Cymru.

Earlier this week, Mr Gove, told to learn about loyalty by the new PM in a two-minute meeting when she sacked him, defended his decision to stand for the Tory leadership, which led to Mr Johnson withdrawing.

“I wouldn’t say I stabbed him in the back,” he said in a radio interview. 

“But I certainly came to the judgement in the immediate aftermath of the referendum campaign that, while I had originally thought he was the best person to be prime minister, for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into, I didn’t think he was the best person at that point.

“It’s not treachery. I explained my reasons at the time. The water is under the bridge.”

It was revealed at the weekend, in a new book called All Out War by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, that David Cameron sent Mr Johnson a text after he pulled out of the Tory leadership race, saying: “You should have stuck with me, mate.”

Sky News (c) Sky News 2016: Michael Gove is back as he lands key role overseeing Brexit

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Published at Wed, 26 Oct 2016 20:04:37 +0000

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