The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ms Truss met Mr Gove for ‘peace talks’ before last week’s Tory Conference and floated the idea of giving him a senior diplomatic job.
But Mr Gove still went on to lead a revolt against the Prime Minister’s plan to cut the 45p top tax rate, forcing her into a humiliating climbdown.
Today Mr Gove’s former Cabinet colleague Nadine Dorries tells Ms Truss that his act of rebellion means he should ‘stay out in the cold’.
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, the former Culture Secretary outlines a ‘desperate’ plan for Ms Truss to ‘reverse the self-harm Conservative MPs have inflicted upon our party’ – and says bluntly: ‘Michael’s days are over.’
Explaining how the Prime Minister tried to mollify Mr Gove before the party conference, a source said: ‘In the name of unity, the PM asked Michael to meet for tea.
‘Mr Gove praised the PM’s energy package and told Liz how much he admired her. The PM asked Michael whether he was interested in a Government role. Michael took a few days to mull over things and then went to Birmingham and stabbed the PM in the back.’
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ms Truss met Mr Gove (pictured) for ‘peace talks’ before last week’s Tory Conference and floated the idea of giving him a senior diplomatic job
It is understood Ms Truss was hinting that Mr Gove could be in line for a senior diplomatic role in a Middle Eastern country such as Israel or the United Arab Emirates, although Mr Gove didn’t take the hint.
A No 10 aide said: ‘It was the right thing to do, to invite him in. Michael asked for Liz’s advice and she told him to enjoy himself. Michael clearly gets his kicks in a sadistic way.’
But a friend of Mr Gove said: ‘He made clear his opposition to scrapping the 45p tax rate, which he had already told his whip. It is heartening that the PM now agrees that the cut is the wrong priority. Michael believes cutting taxes for the richest during a cost-of-living crisis is indefensible. No job offer was made.’
Another ally said: ‘It was slightly weird [for the PM] to have Gove in for a 45-minute cup of tea while the economy was in flames around her.’
It is understood Ms Truss (pictured) was hinting that Mr Gove could be in line for a senior diplomatic role in a Middle Eastern country such as Israel or the United Arab Emirates
The revelations come as senior Cabinet Minister Nadhim Zahawi warns that plotters are paving the way for a Labour Government led by Sir Keir Starmer.
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Mr Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, says: ‘Those plotting against the Prime Minister are helping to usher in a Labour Government. I do wonder what they think they are achieving by trying to undermine a Conservative Government that is supporting people through an energy crisis.
‘Conservative MPs should be supporting the leader of the Conservative Party, not working against her’.
After another turbulent week for Ms Truss’s Government:
- Tory MPs are drawing up plans behind Boris Johnson’s back for him to be parachuted back in as Prime Minister in the spring if the Tories are still more than 20 points behind in the polls;
- Leading rebels such as former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are planning a ‘hyena strategy’ of weakening Ms Truss over time by forcing ‘U-turn after U-turn’;
- Tensions between the Government and the Bank of England were mounting over Ms Truss’s conference pledge to cut EU red tape and recriminations over the Bank’s £65 billion support for the markets following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.
Mr Gove ramped up his criticism of Ms Truss’s tax policy yesterday, telling the Financial Times that while ‘daring audacity is required in politics’, it was ‘really not a time for gambling’.
Today Mr Gove’s former Cabinet colleague Nadine Dorries (pictured) tells Ms Truss that his act of rebellion means he should ‘stay out in the cold’
He said: ‘The essence of being Conservative is that you should do everything possible to avoid taking risks with the economy and with people’s jobs and with mortgage rates.
‘It’s all very well to say fortune favours the brave, but there are some moments where you are unlikely to follow someone who is exceptionally brave because they are charging towards the guns without necessarily the artillery support that you would expect.’
A senior No 10 source hit back, saying: ‘Our lot need to get behind Liz or they’ll end up with the nightmare coalition of Labour and the SNP, which would break up the country and send it down the drain.
‘Mistakes were made with the mini-Budget, but the PM has the right plan to get our economy motoring and build the world-beating post-Brexit Britain people voted for. She needs time, she needs space and she needs the party to remember who the real enemy are.’
Meanwhile, Tory MPs are drawing up plans behind Boris Johnson’s back for him to be parachuted back in as Prime Minister in the spring if the Tories are still more than 20 points behind in the polls
Allies of Ms Truss hope that if she can hold the Government together until the Coronation, expected early next summer, it could lead to a ‘bounce’ in her ratings.
The Prime Minister is considering boosting party unity by offering the vacant job of International Trade Minister to a former backer of Rishi Sunak who has demonstrated loyalty to Ms Truss, although no candidate has yet been suggested. Conor Burns lost the job on Friday over claims of ‘serious misconduct’.
A source said: ‘The job will be coveted and could be used to reward a Sunak backer who hasn’t joined Gove’s coalition.’
In her Mail on Sunday article, former Culture Secretary Ms Dorries reveals that Boris Johnson told her to ‘back Liz’ when they met shortly after the Prime Minister’s conference speech last week.
She also calls for the removal of Mark Fullbrook, the No 10 chief of staff, who has been caught up in feuds with senior members of Ms Truss’s team.