Truss to blame if Tories lose election, suggests Gove

truss to blame if tories lose election, suggests gove

Michael Gove, who is stepping down at the election, urged his Tory colleagues not to lurch to the Right if Labour wins - Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe

Michael Gove has suggested that Liz Truss is to blame if the Conservatives lose the election.

The Housing Secretary said the Tories’ chances of re-election had taken “a bit of a knock” because of the former prime minister’s disastrous mini-Budget.

However he refused to name Ms Truss, referring instead to the “period between Boris and Rishi”.

Mr Gove, who is stepping down at the election, urged his Tory colleagues not to lurch to the Right if Labour wins.

He admitted it would be a “stretch” for the Conservatives to win, warning that there was a risk Labour could become a “forever government”.

Speaking before a visit to a building site in west London, he said: “One of the challenges in particular that we face is the reputation for sound economic management, which is essential to Conservative success, took a bit of a knock in the period between Boris and Rishi.

“That was undoubtedly a challenge, and we’ve had very good economic management since then.

“I don’t want to say I can draw definitive conclusions, because votes haven’t been cast – but if you ask what made the election more difficult than it might otherwise have been, it’s that period.

“There are other challenges that we have as well. There’ll be an opportunity after the election, whatever the result, for us to assess where support may have waned, where it held, and where it might have improved.”

Speaking at The Times CEO Summit, Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, said a Conservative win at the general election was not “the most likely outcome”.

Asked whether he could win in his constituency, Mr Hunt said his seat was “too close to call” and that he was still meeting “a lot of people who say they haven’t yet made up their mind”.

Earlier, Mr Gove warned that Labour could use a large majority to “rig the system” and create a “forever government”.

He told Sky News: “I hope we are getting our message across on tax and one of the things is that if people do reflect on the polls, and of course some may, they will ask themselves this question: If Labour do have that really big majority, what is to stop them rigging the system?

“What is to stop them giving votes to EU citizens, 16-year-olds, prisoners, and making sure that they could be a forever government?”

He also urged colleagues not to turn further to the Right, saying the Tories had to espouse social justice.

“Whatever happens – whether we win the election, which I hope we will, or we lose – the Conservative party is at its best when it embraces the spirit that we had in 2010 and 2019 of recognising that you need to be a party that appeals to every part of the country, in background and in geography,” he said.

“We can’t be a party of just property owners – we need to be a party of renters and those who aspire to own property.

“We can’t just be a party that safeguards those who have done well because of hard work, we’ve got to be a party on the side of those who aspire to both do better economically and contribute to society. In broad terms, the Conservative Party succeeds when it believes in hard work and enterprise, and social justice.”

Mr Gove said he would not get into the issue of partygate and whether that was having any impact on the election.

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