1 July 2016 – Michael Gove, MP for the Surrey Heath constituency, is standing for the leadership of the Conservative Party as the pro-Brexit candidate.
Gove was, along with Boris Johnson, one of the two main faces of the official Vote Leave campaign in last week’s EU referendum. In spite of all indications to the contrary, Leave edged victory by 52% to 48%.
On the morning of the result, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would quit the party leadership, thus standing down as PM, by October. The Conservatives have since begun a leadership race. Gove, currently the Justice Secretary, is one of the two realistic candidates, the other being Home Secretary Theresa May.
Boris Johnson sensationally ruled himself out of running yesterday. It was widely expected he and Gove would share a platform for the leadership of the Tories, though Gove is perceived as having stabbed Boris in the back over concerns about the number of supporters Boris could count on. He previously promised not to run for prime minister.
Despite being the local MP, a search of the NRA website returns zero results for Michael Gove. He is not recorded as having taken part in the Vizianagram, the annual House of Lords vs House of Commons TR match which takes place during the Imperial Meeting. Brief Google searches do not connect Gove with shooting in any way, as far as UK Shooting News’ author can see. Without an exhaustive search of Hansard to confirm, UKSN’s author does not recall Gove taking part in any recent Commons debates on firearms law; it appears target and game shooting are simply not topics he takes an interest in or has expressed any views on.
The Surrey Heath parliamentary constituency covers most of Surrey’s major rifle range complexes, including Bisley, Pirbright and Ash. More information can be found on Wikipedia, while the Saturday Walkers’ Club website has an interactive map of the constituency boundaries.
In addition, an analysis by top British libertarian blog Libertarian Home carried out for last year’s general election found that Surrey Heath “is very supportive of a smaller state, much more so than other areas in the UK, and has only a ‘small’ authoritarian streak.” Gove is regarded as one of the few anti-authoritarian MPs in the Conservative Party, in stark contrast to May.