Michael Gove, 54, has emerged as a frontrunner to replace Priti Patel, 49, at the Home Office, The Times has revealed. The two Cabinet Ministers worked together on the successful Vote Leave campaign in 2016, with Gove as the group’s co-convener and Patel joining the then-Justice Secretary in the so-called “gang of six”.
But the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is now said to be “bored” in his current post, which might explain his visit to a nightclub in his hometown of Aberdeen.
The Prime Minister responded to the footage of his Cabinet Minister body-popping to techno tunes by saying: “We opened up the nightclubs then we sent our ministers out to enjoy them.”
Mr Gove has previously been tasked by Boris Johnson with addressing important constitutional matters, including Scottish independence and Britain’s departure from the European Union.
In contrast, Ms Patel has come under fire from her Conservative colleagues and the Prime Minister for failing to stop the flow of illegal immigrants arriving on English shores from Calais.
While the MP for Witham has now threatened to turn boats back, the number of illegal immigrants completing the perilous 21-mile journey has skyrocketed from just 8,000 in 2020 to an estimated 22,000 in 2021.
The rumours that Gove could replace Patel come just weeks after the two-time candidate for Conservative Party leader was accused of “muscling in” on his Cabinet colleague over the Afghan refugee crisis.
Mr Gove opted to convene two meetings over resettlement, despite being an issue in the Home Office’s remit.
Speaking to The Times about the imminent reshuffle, one senior Tory said: “Michael is the obvious person to run the Home Office.”
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They added: “He can’t be Foreign Secretary or would bomb half the Middle East in the first fortnight.”
Mr Gove is considered to hold neoconservative ideas on foreign policy.
The 54-year-old was a leading voice in David Cameron’s Government on intervention in Libya and even accused Labour of “appeasing Assad” during Parliament’s debate on bombing Syria in 2013.
Before entering Parliament, Gove also argued Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq was right.
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Mr Gove admitted to taking the Class A drug during his second leadership bid in 2019.
Other potential casualties in the reshuffle include the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg.