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Veteran UK Minister Latest To Quit After Rishi Sunak’s Poll Announcement

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UK PM Sunak ended months of speculation by calling a general election for July 4.

London:

A key member of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government on Friday became the highest profile Conservative lawmaker to join a growing parliamentary exodus ahead of the July general election.

Housing Minister Michael Gove, a one-time ally of ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a former education, justice and environment minister, became the 77th Tory MP to announce they will not stand for re-election.

The 56-year-old former journalist has served under four Conservative Party prime ministers since 2015.

“After nearly twenty years serving the wonderful people of Surrey Heath (his constituency) and over a decade in cabinet across five government departments, I have today taken the decision to step down,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Sunak on Wednesday ended months of speculation by calling a general election for July 4.

But with his Conservatives trailing the main opposition Labour Party in opinion polls, the dozens of MPs standing down has been taken by some as an indication of the level of demoralisation among Sunak’s lawmakers.

Some polls put give Labour leader Keir Starmer a more than 20-point lead over the Tories.

Brexit supporter Gove’s career has been marked by political falling-outs and comebacks.

He was education minister in David Cameron’s government before siding against him during the 2016 referendum campaign on leaving the European Union.

He then backed Johnson to become the new Conservative leader before launching his own unsuccessful bid.

He joined Brexiteer Johnson’s cabinet following the 2019 election but was sacked by him after telling the then prime minister his time in Downing Street was up as the 2022 government fell apart.

Other high profile figures who have announced they will not seek re-election in July include former Prime Minister Theresa May, Northern Ireland Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, former armed forces minister James Heappey and former defence minister Ben Wallace.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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