Michael Gove’s brief but fruitful tenure at Petty France could soon expire.
This week the Gazette has saved its best story for the leader column. Michael Gove will be sacked, promoted or left where he is in a post-Brexit poll cabinet reshuffle, we can reveal.
All possibilities have been floated among political commentators, whose speculation about the constituency of the next cabinet has not lacked for variety as the Brexit debate has toxified. Even the result won’t immediately clear things up: if Remain wins narrowly, there is talk that the PM will hug his dissident justice secretary closer to help restore equilibrium in a battle-scarred party.
Gove’s predecessor set a ground-huggingly low bar, but the profession’s view of the lord chancellor is that this is a person with whom lawyers can – and do – work (whatever their politics). The unflinching ideologue of popular perception has proved nothing of the sort at Petty France, where his systematic dismantling of Chris Grayling’s legacy has been as welcome as it was unexpected. Most recently, in pledging action on criminal justice, the thought has once again occurred: ‘Grayling wouldn’t have said that’.
Then there is the much-heralded ‘rehabilitation revolution’ – previously aborted by David Cameron when he sacked Ken Clarke. Should history repeat itself (if not as tragedy, but possibly as farce) that would be reason alone to lament Gove’s passing.