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Michael Gove campaign boss sorry for votes plot

By Shaun Connolly

Published 07/07/2016

Unaware: Michael Gove
Unaware: Michael Gove

Michael Gove's campaign manager has been forced to apologise after being caught trying to get Theresa May supporters to switch sides to block Andrea Leadsom from the final run-off in the Tory leadership battle.

Nick Boles insisted the Justice Secretary was unaware of the plot to persuade backers of the Home Secretary to vote tactically in the ballot by MPs that chooses the last two candidates.

Mr Boles took to Twitter to announce he had apologised to Mr Gove, stating: "He did not know about it let alone authorise it. And it does not reflect his views."

The storm erupted after the Justice Secretary was confronted over texts sent by Mr Boles to scores of MPs.

The text said Mr Boles thought it was "overwhelmingly likely" Mrs May would triumph, but he was "seriously frightened" that if Ms Leadsom made the final two she could connect with members in the same way Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) had previously. The text added: "I respect the fact that you want Theresa May to be the Prime Minister. It is overwhelmingly likely that she will be, and if she does I will sleep easily at night.

"But I am seriously frightened about the risk of allowing Andrea Leadsom onto the membership ballot.

"Are we really confident that the membership won't vote for a fresh face who shares their attitudes about much of modern life, like they did with IDS?

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