Brexiteer Michael Gove has thrown beleaguered Theresa May a lifeline after deciding that he will remain in her government.
Following the resignation of four ministers in the wake of her poorly-received Brexit deal, speculation was rife that the departure of the most senior Leave campaigner in her Cabinet could deal a damaging blow to the prime minister.
But a source close to Gove told the Press Association: ‘Michael is staying at Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
‘He thinks it is important to continue working with Cabinet colleagues to ensure the best outcome for the country.’
Gove was reported to have been offered the post of Brexit secretary vacated by Dominic Raab, but to have said he would only take it if he could renegotiate the EU withdrawal agreement.
As he left the Defra office, Gove was asked if he had confidence in the prime minister and replied: ‘I absolutely do.’
He added: ‘I am looking forward to continuing to work with all colleagues in government and in parliament to get the best future for Britain.’
Asked for May’s response to Gove’s decision to remain at Defra, a Downing Street spokesperson said: ‘She is very pleased that he will continue doing the important work he is doing there.’