Michael Gove becomes latest Tory MP to step down at general election

Michael Gove will stand down at the forthcoming general election
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Michael Gove has become the latest Conservative MP to announce he will step down at the general election. The Housing Secretary and MP for Surrey Heath announced his decision in a letter shared on social media site X on Friday night, saying it was time for a "new generation" to lead.

He joins nearly 80 Tory MPs who have stepped down ahead of the nation going to the polls, a post-war record. The total not seeking re-election on July 4 hit 77 on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 72 who quit prior to Sir Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide win for Labour.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a summer election surprised many in Westminster, who had been expecting an autumn poll. The news has reportedly caused disquiet among some Tory MPs fearful of losing their jobs, and newspaper reports have suggested Cabinet ministers voiced concerns about the decision.

Mr Gove said: "After nearly twenty years serving the wonderful people of Surrey Heath and over a decade in Cabinet across five government departments, I have today taken the decision to step down as a Member of Parliament."

The MP, who was first elected in May 2005, currently holds the Government posts of Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.

In a letter to Stuart Black, chair of Surrey Heath Conservatives, he wrote: "Throughout my time in politics, although I have undoubtedly made mistakes, I have always tried to be a voice for those who are overlooked and undervalued. I have tried to fight for greater social justice.

"My education reforms were designed to build a country where everyone - no matter their background - can become the authors of their own life stories. For me that is what being in Parliament and Government is all about."

He said he would do "everything I can" to support Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Conservative candidates in the election.