A leaked email from Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine to her politician husband Michael Gove has shown the influence Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch have over UK politics.
The leaked email, which was sent to a member of the public in error and then found it way to Sky News, said: “One simple message: You MUST have SPECIFIC assurances from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support. The details can be worked out later on, but without that you have no leverage.
“Crucially, the membership will not have the necessary reassurance to back Boris, neither will Dacre/Murdoch, who instinctively dislike Boris but trust your ability enough to support a Boris Gove ticket. Do not concede any ground. Be your stubborn best. GOOD LUCK.”
The email suggests that Gove had concerns that Johnson would not deliver in full on Brexit or on stopping free movement between Britain and the EU.
This morning Gove announced that he would be standing for the post of Conservative Party leader himself, suggesting that he had not received the assurances he sought from Johnson.
And in a further surprise development, Johnson ruled himself out of standing for the Tory party leadership.
Speaking at a Times event on Tuesday, Murdoch said: “I’d be happy for Michael Gove to get it” [the Tory leadership].
The UK’s top-selling national newspaper, the Murdoch-owned Sun, has campaigned vigorously in favour of Brexit as has the Daily Mail.