In October last year, Michael Gove admitted of Brexit: “I ask myself all the time, ‘was it the right thing to do?’”
I wondered then if this wasn’t the beginning of a very gradual U-turn, and, sure enough, it’s leaked out over the weekend how the Levelling Up secretary was “very honest” about the shortcomings of Brexit at a “secret” meeting at a country house in Oxfordshire to discuss with the likes of Lord Mandelson and David Lammy (and some elderly Brexiters such as Lords Lamont and Howard) how to mend fences with Europe.
The one-time fanatical Brexiter knew this kind of soul-searching wouldn’t go down well with Sun readers and his “allies” told the rag on Monday the story had been briefed out with the worst possible spin by “embittered remainers” and insisted he had “no bregrets.”
Still, as his former all-time best friends David Cameron and Boris Johnson can attest, Gove’s loyalty to any individual or cause lasts only as long as it suits his interests. “Gove is standing again at the next election and this is about him trying to Teflon-coat himself as much as possible from the recriminations about Brexit that will undoubtedly follow the Tories’ defeat at the next election,” one Westminster insider whispers.
Although Gove once said he’d had enough of experts, others at the meeting included diplomats, defence personnel and heads of some of the UK’s biggest businesses and banks.