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Is Michael Gove eyeing up Number 10?

The levelling up minister may have, finally, come out in support of the prime minister, but he’s also just accepted his first donation since 2021

Michael Gove in the House of Commons. Photo: PA

Michael Gove finally came out and pledged his support for his beleaguered leader over the weekend – he said he believed Boris Johnson would “fight and win the next election” – but intriguingly he has just accepted a relatively modest £2,000 “private” donation from businessman Richard Gillham.

Donations often come the way of senior MPs before a leadership bid.
Gove hasn’t attracted any donations since he controversially registered two donations of £50,000 from a German property developer, Zak Gertler, in 2021. The Gertler family developed offices in Germany and have been linked to property deals in London and Birmingham since moving to the UK in the 1990s.

Gove faced calls to return the money because of a potential conflict of interest with his role as the housing, communities and local government secretary. He had previously accepted £10,000 from the same donor in July 2016 to help his abortive party leadership bid after the Brexit referendum, and the same amount again in June 2019.

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See inside the The defeat of decency edition

Prime minister Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris Gin as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market. Photo: Justin Tallis/PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson’s been living it up for years

Back in 2019, a source told MANDRAKE that the prime minister started work late, looked dishevelled and treated the Downing Street flat like “student digs”

Matt Hancock takes a selfie as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Matt Hancock’s enjoying the good life

Hancock’s somewhat modest outside earnings haven't stopped him enjoying life with the woman he found it so difficult to socially distance from during lockdown