Mandrake can’t think of a Tory leadership election that Michael Gove hasn’t fumbled badly, and this one is no exception. His early support for Kemi Badenoch scarcely endeared him to either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss and, while he’s made it clear he’s willing to serve under either of them, it’s unclear if the winner will want him.
Although he first pledged his support to Boris Johnson in the 2016 election, he then knifed him and vainly ran himself.
Johnson, when he became prime minister, never forgave Gove for that treachery, but it was expedient for him to find a place for him in his cabinet. Gove was at the time in talks to take over as editor of the Times and Johnson knew he’d almost certainly get less of a soaking with Gove inside his tent than outside of it.