Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gove Pledges Big and Bold Vision, Then Takes Swipe at 'Ice Queen' May; Contender Woos One Nation Tories but Clarke Says He Has Forfeited Trust

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gove Pledges Big and Bold Vision, Then Takes Swipe at 'Ice Queen' May; Contender Woos One Nation Tories but Clarke Says He Has Forfeited Trust

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

MICHAEL GOVE launched his leadership campaign with a dig at Theresa May's "ice queen" image.

"What this country needs in a Prime Minister is not just a cool head but a heart burning with the desire for change," he declared.

It was a clear jibe at Mrs May whose own launch speech made a virtue of her "unshowy" style and refusal to gossip about colleagues over lunch.

The pair clashed bitterly over policy when they were ministers, leading to Mr Gove being exiled to the whips' office for a year, and are said to "hate each other".

Mrs May was nicknamed the Ice Queen by Nick Clegg. Ex-minister David Laws revealed in his memoirs that Mr Clegg told him: "She's a bit of an Ice Maiden and has no small talk whatsoever -- none."

Setting out his own stall as leader, Mr Gove promised "a big and bold vision" to lead the country through uncertain times.

He won backing today from Cabinet minister John Whittingdale and Education Minister Nick Gibb.

Rumours around Westminster today are claiming that Mr Gove offered the post of Chancellor to George Osborne in return for his support yesterday. However, Mr Gove's spokesman said that the pair had not spoken since Tuesday.

Pitching for the support of One Nation Tories, Mr Gove said last week's referendum voting had exposed the existence of "two Britains", one that made money from globalisation, and another whose people felt they were "flotsam and jetsam in its powerful flows".

But Mr Gove was urged "do us a favour and stand down" by the biggest beast of the One Nation wing of the party, former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who said he had forfeited trust by knifing Boris Johnson.

In a damning intervention, the former Chancellor praised Mr Gove's qualities as a minister but said he had no chance of winning.

"I do think Michael Gove would do us all a favour if he were to stand down now and speed up the process," he told BBC radio. …

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