How Boris and Gove buried hatchet

The Mail on Sunday - - Brexit: The 'Soft Coup' - By Glen Owen

THE joint let­ter shows how the on-off Brexit bro­mance be­tween Michael Gove and Boris John­son has been rekin­dled by shared am­bi­tion.

Mr Gove, the man who spec­tac­u­larly tor­pe­doed Mr John­son’s lead­er­ship hopes last year, has formed a deadly Cab­i­net axis with the For­eign Sec­re­tary to stron­garm Theresa May into en­act­ing their vi­sion of Brexit.

The pair, con­tem­po­raries at Ox­ford, have been friends, through jour­nal­ism and pol­i­tics, for decades. But it was when they met at Mr John­son’s home in Fe­bru­ary 2016 for a se­cret din­ner – re­vealed by The Mail on Sun­day – that they agreed the ex­plo­sive po­lit­i­cal pact which led to Bri­tain sev­er­ing its ties with the EU.

The com­bi­na­tion of Mr Gove’s brains and Mr John­son’s cam­paign­ing flair pro­pelled the Leave cam­paign to vic­tory in the ref­er­en­dum later that year. They looked set to take the dou­ble act into Down­ing Street, with Mr Gove back­ing Mr John­son for leader fol­low­ing Mr Cameron’s res­ig­na­tion.

But hours be­fore the dead­line closed for can­di­dates, Mr Gove with­drew his sup­port and an­nounced he was run­ning in his own right, killing Mr John­son’s hopes in the process. The move back­fired, and ap­peared to have de­stroyed their friend­ship for good. Now, de­spite the mu­tual wari­ness of their re­spec­tive en­tourages, they have buried the hatchet for fear of be­ing ac­cused of reneg­ing on prom­ises they made dur­ing the cam­paign.

The first pub­lic sign of their rap­proche­ment came af­ter Mr John­son pub­lished his 4,000word ‘Brexit man­i­festo’ in Septem­ber, with Mr Gove mak­ing sup­port­ive re­marks.

They have cal­cu­lated that they are stronger to­gether than they are apart.

SCHEM­ING: How we re­vealed their se­cret ren­dezvous

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