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UK Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Alamy Stock Photo
The Flight of the Tories

Conservative minister Michael Gove stands down ahead of UK election - that's 78 Tories out of the game

Gove, who has been an MP since 2005, joins a growing parliamentary exodus coming mainly from the Conservative Party.

UK CABINET MINISTER Michael Gove has become the latest high-profile Tory MP to announce that he will not run in the general election scheduled for 4 July.

The Housing Secretary cited the “toll” of public office as he said it was time to let “a new generation lead” following a political career spanning nearly 20 years.

Gove, who has been an MP for the area Surrey Heath since 2005, joins a growing parliamentary exodus coming mainly from the Conservative Party as it lags behind Labour in the polls.

In a letter to his constituency chairman posted social media, Gove said: “I know the toll office can take, as do those closest to me. No-one in politics is a conscript.

“We are volunteers who willingly choose our fate. And the chance to serve is wonderful. But there comes a moment when you know that it is time to leave. That a new generation should lead.”

A post-war record of nearly 80 Conservative MPs have stepped down ahead of the election.

The total number not seeking re-election on July 4 hit 78 yesterday, surpassing the previous high of 72 who quit prior to Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide victory for Labour.

Gove conceded he had “undoubtedly made mistakes” throughout his political career but said he had always “tried to be a voice for those who have been overlooked and undervalued”.

In a show of support for Rishi Sunak as campaigning for the election gets under way, he added: “We have a Prime Minister who I know exemplifies the patriotism, hard work, sense of selfless service and clarity of purpose which are the very best virtues of our party.”

Sunak’s decision to call a summer election surprised many in Westminster, where an autumn date was widely expected.

The news has caused disquiet among some Tory MPs fearful of losing their jobs, and some ministers are said to have voiced concerns privately about the decision.

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