James Forsyth

Which way will Gove go?

Which way will Gove go?
Text settings
Comments

If all goes according to David Cameron’s plan, he’ll have his EU deal by this time next week. But Downing Street still can’t be sure of which Tory heavyweights will be with Cameron come the referendum campaign, and which won’t.

Even more than Boris Johnson, Michael Gove is causing Downing Street angst. As I report in The Sun today, Gove is ‘definitely wobbling’ according to one Downing Street source. Downing Street think the chances of him backing Out have increased significantly in the last 10 days or so.

Gove himself has been telling people that he won’t make a decision until the deal is done. But those around him are now preparing for Gove coming Out. One minister who is close to Gove both personally and politically, but who will back In, tells me that ‘it is a question of to what degree he goes Out’. By this they mean, how much does Gove throw himself into the campaign.

If Gove did go Out, it would be quite a moment. It would give the Out campaign intellectual credibility and significant Cabinet support. But it would also show that you can be in favour of Cameron and for leaving the EU. If this debate isn’t about Cameron, it will be that much easier to reunite the Tory party afterwards.