Tories are still loving Michael Gove (and Jacob Rees Mogg)
The Brexiteer pair are more popular than before with Conservative party footsoldiers.
Jacob Rees Mogg and Michael Gove have cemented their statuses as favourites to replace Theresa May as Tory leader, according to the latest rankings from ConservativeHome.
This month's survey of grassroots Tories puts Rees-Mogg top with 21% support. Gove is second with 16% and Boris Johnson is third on 14 per cent.
Last month Rees Mogg was top with 18% and Gove was second on 14%.
Rees Mogg is not expected to stand, but Gove might yet - and the latest rankings underline how he has staged a remarkable recovery since the botched leadership bid in 2016, which saw his popularity plummet and allies of Boris Johnson expressing their rage.
Tory MP Jake Berry said there was a “very deep pit reserved in hell” for Gove. And the former London mayor’s father Stanley told the BBC that three words came to mind when he thinks about Michael Gove: “Et tu, Brute?”
But the tide has been turning in Westminster, with Johnson now referring to the environment secretary as 'Gover' and Sky News presenter Adam Boulton among the pundits talking up Gove’s chances.
In a recent column for The Sunday Times, he wrote: “Despite Michael Gove’s betrayal in the last contest, Johnson and “the Gover” are back in harness as close allies. Gove is trying to rebuild his reputation as an enthusiastic and effective environment secretary.
“He has brains and subtlety but he is a true believer in the kind of Brexit which the hardliners fear is slipping from them as the likes of Hammond, Davis and Clark openly back the softest transition period and equivocate on the final settlement.”