As scores of Conservative MPs handed in their resignation letters to call for the PM’s resignation, only one was fired by Mr Johnson – Mr Gove. It has now been revealed that the former Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has not only lost his job, but his £25million house in the sacking. In 2016, Mr Gove torpedoed Mr Johnson’s leadership bid to replace David Cameron by withdrawing his support at the last minute and running himself.
He did so after reportedly being “appalled” by Mr Johnson’s decision to play cricket and throw a boozy garden party instead of working on delivering Brexit after Vote Leave won the referendum. On Wednesday, Mr Gove told the PM he had to quit, giving him an ultimatum of 9pm to do so.
At 8.58pm Mr Johnson called Mr Gove and fired him. Tory former minister Tim Loughton said before Mr Johnson finally caved in and agreed to resign on Thursday that Michael Gove had “taken the PM the traditional whisky and revolver. The PM downed the whisky and turned the revolver on Gove.”
No 10 source on Wednesday accused Mr Gove of being a “snake”, for his demands.
The source added: “It’s not the first time he’s been treacherous, appalling and disloyal.
“This is something he [Mr Johnson] should have done years ago.”
Along with his job, Mr Gove lost his ministerial salary of £67,505, leaving him with the MP’s pay of £84,144. But it has now been revealed that his £25million grace and favour apartment in Westminster’s Carlton Gardens near Buckingham Palace has also been taken from the former housing minister.
While the property is the official residence of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, she lent her Cabinet colleague the three bed flat in November 2021 after Mr Gove left his family home following the breakup with wife Sarah Vine.
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Mr Gove also had the use of a ballroom and two dining rooms in the 1830 house designed by architect John Nash, known for being one of the architects behind Buckingham Palace, and leased by the Foreign Office from the Crown Estates which look after the Queen’s properties. A friend of Mr Gove confirmed to the Sunday Mirror: “Yes, he will now need to find somewhere else to live.”
According to Ms Vine’s Daily Mail Column, Mr Gove told the PM: “If anyone should be stepping back, it’s you,” when he was fired. Ms Vine said she was told about the sacking by the PM’s sister Rachel Johnson, and spoke to her former partner shortly afterward.
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In her column, Ms Vine quotes Mr Gove directly: “‘The Prime Minister rang me a few minutes ago and told me it was time for me to step back.
“I said, respectfully, Prime Minister, if anyone should be stepping back, it is you.”‘
Ms Vine said she asked Mr Gove: “What are you going to do now?”
He responded: “Have a glass of wine and a slice of salami and see what tomorrow brings.”