Like Brutus before him, the Machiavellian Michael Gove has been defeated. Gove, the famed slayer of Boris Johnson has lost the battle mere steps away from power.
The penultimate round of the race represented Gove’s Battle of Philippi. The two opposing candidates, May and Leadsom have come out on top leaving Gove in the dust with 46 votes to Leadsom’s 84 and May’s gargantuan support of 199 MP’s.
Gove’s fall comes after a long campaign of planning and scheming. After knifing Johnson in the back, Gove planned to eliminate Leadsom from the race, utilising a plot orchestrated by his campaign manager, Nick Boles.
Boles’ aim was to convince May supporters to vote for Gove in order to knock Leadsom out of the race. Boles stated he was ‘extremely frightened’ of a Leadsom victory. Boles has since apologised for this.
Gove acted as one of the most controversial characters in the campaign, many MP’s felt it impossible to trust him, a feeling clearly reflected in the result.
Despite gaining the support of 84 MP’s, many in The Conservative Party are hesitant about the prospect of a Leadsom premiership. Labelled as inexperienced, Leadsom has only been an MP for six years and has never served in the front benches. Further scrutiny has been placed on Leadsom’s CV over claims of an over stated career history.
In a recent speech, Leadsom called for ‘prosperity not austerity’, a call met with cheers from her crowd. Leadsom is viewed as a fresh face for what May has called ‘the nasty party’; she is the hopeful pathfinder for Brexit Britain, the pilot for The UK’s next destination.
Similarly, in her speech after the result, May stated that she intends to make Britain work for everyone, ‘not just for the privileged few’.
May is still viewed as the favourite to win the race. Commanding the overwhelming support of MP’s the race is hers to lose; she now needs to convince the party outside parliament to support her on the road to number 10. May finished the second ballot with 199 votes from MP’s.
However, Leadsom has attracted extensive support from party members leading pundits to believe that she can still claim victory should she attract the support of Conservative party members despite failure to capture the hearts of the majority of MP’s. Leadsom’s success has been described as incredible by supporters.
Despite all the animosity, The Conservative Party should be proud of what it has managed to achieve since Brexit that so many others have failed to do: actually have a leadership election.