Northern Ireland news

Michael Gove linked to secretary of state's job

Michael Gove has been linked to the northern Ireland secretary of state's job. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

THERE is growing speculation that Michael Gove could replace the much-maligned Karen Bradley as secretary of state.

Two separate reports yesterday linked the environment secretary to the post, describing it as a "promotion".

The Sunday Times said the former Tory leadership hopeful was guaranteed a cabinet job, with one source telling the paper Boris Johnson wanted to recognise talent and show unity.

The report said there is speculation that Mr Gove could become resident at Hillsborough Castle but would more likely end up with the communities brief, giving him responsibility for housing.

The former environment secretary sparked a rift with Mr Johnson in 2016 after he scuppered his bid for the top Tory job. He withdrew his support at the last minute to run for the job himself which ultimately saw Theresa May take up residence at Number 10.

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday reported that the next prime minister planned to keep Mr Gove in the cabinet with the offer of a "bigger job".

"But not a really big job such as chancellor or deputy prime minister – otherwise the pyschodrama would start all over again," a source told the paper.

The report speculated that Mr Gove could land the communities brief or the Northern Ireland secretary's job.

Earlier this year, Mr Gove was forced to defend remarks he made in 2000 about the Good Friday Agreement.

He strongly opposed the 1998 accord, comparing the agreement to the appeasement of Nazis and the condoning of the desires of peadophiles.

In the paper he described the agreement as a "moral stain" and a "humiliation of our army, police and parliament".

"There are people who naturally felt as I did, discomfort, there is a moral question about someone who had been engaged in terrorism should be in office and I found that very difficult to take," he told the BBC.

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