Michael Gove gets back in Tory party members' good books
Conservative campaigners appear to have forgiven the environment secretary for his past treachery.
Michael Gove was widely compared to Brutus after he knifed his fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson during the bloodthirsty Tory leadership contest of 2016.
But just as Shakespeare’s character is later described by Antony as "the noblest Roman of them all", the senior Tory MP now also appears to have been vindicated in the eyes of his own people.
In the latest ConservativeHome poll of Conservative members asking who should be the party’s leader, the environment secretary has risen up to second place (when you ignore ‘other’ which is on 22 per cent).
The remarkable ratings rise comes a few weeks after it was revealed that Gove and Johnson had buried the hatchet and got back together. The pair had joined forces to drink merlot and draft a memo to the prime minster setting out a series of Brexit demands, it emerged.
One unnamed minister called their note is a "sordid little double play" aimed at trying to remove Philip Hammond. But Brexit-backing Tory members clearly take a different view – so the environment secretary has gone up from just 4 per cent in October to 12 per cent this month.
The only person faring better than Gove in the latest table is Jacob Rees Mogg, who gets 18 per cent and is the highest-scoring Tory politician for the second successive month. The picture is less rosy for Brexit secretary David Davis who has dropped down to eight per cent, having been riding high on 24 per cent shortly after the general election.