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By Paul Goodman
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Gove Looking RightWhen we last reported on who Conservative members want as Party leader after David Cameron, the Mayor of London was the clear leader.  Preferences divided up as follows in May:

  • Boris Johnson: 30 per cent.
  • Michael Gove: 17 per cent.
  • David Davis: 16 per cent.
  • William Hague: 16 per cent.
  • Theresa May: 12 per cent.

The results of our latest survey, conducted late last week, now find as follows:

  • Boris Johnson: 21 per cent.
  • Michael Gove: 20 per cent.
  • Theresa May: 16.5 per cent.
  • William Hague: 15 per cent.
  • David Davis: 14 per cent.

Gove's steady rise will reflect the view of members that he is the Government's most effective Minister – in terms both of shaping policy to Conservative ends and taking on the left.

There's no convincing reason for Boris's fall of ten points other than the obvious one: he hasn't been in the news much during the past month.

This poll should be read in conjunction with James Forsyth's column in this week's Spectator.  James sets out the Mayor's planned path to the Premiership – which we will return to.

More directly to the point, as far as this poll is concerned, is Boris's apparent belief that Gove will now not run for the leadership post-2015 if David Cameron loses.

James claims that the Mayor now sees Theresa May, the deporter of Abu Qatada, as his main potential rival.  She's up in our poll – but her rise is modest.

Gove may not stand for the leadership if his friend, David Cameron, vacates it.  Or he may.  But one thing is certain: he has no shortage of admirers who would urge him to.

These include the Prime Minister himself.  George Osborne, of course, is not on easy terms with Boris, to put it mildly.

The prospect of the Cameron and Osborne duo pleading with Gove to stand – and preserve their legacy from the ravages of Boris – is not so far-fetched as to be beyond raising.

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