James Forsyth

What happened the last time Gove played Cameron’s opponent in debate prep

Text settings

One of the surprises of the Tory leadership campaign in 2005 was how David Davis bested David Cameron in the TV debate between the two men. Those involved in Cameron’s preparations for that debate blame Cameron’s poor performance on how Michael Gove knocked Cameron’s confidence in the run up to it. Gove was Davis in debate prep and played Davis as a ferociously clever, Oxford Union-style debater and kept leaving Cameron tied in knots. So it is interesting that the Cameron camp have again chosen Gove to play the role of Cameron’s opponent in the run up to a TV debate. This time Gove will, of course, be playing the part of Gordon Brown.

These debates are going to fascinate the press. Expect to see a slew of process stories: who is playing Cameron in Brown’s preparations and all that.