A former Aberdeen schoolboy has thrown his hat in the ring to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who grew up in Aberdeen and attended Robert Gordon’s College, will join an already crowded field following confirmations from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Andrea Leadsom.
I will be putting my name forward to be Prime Minister.
— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) May 26, 2019
He said: “I can confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be Prime Minister of this country.
“I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Unionist Party, ready to deliver Brexit and ready to lead this great country.”
The prominent Brexiteer was adopted by his Labour-supporting parents, aged four months, and went to Sunnybank and Kittybrewster Primary Schools before winning a scholarship to the fee-paying Robert Gordon’s College.
In the late 1980s he became a journalist at the Evening Express’ sister paper the Press and Journal.
He was elected to Westminster in 2005, becoming a close friend of David Cameron and George Osborne, and began a rapid rise through the ministerial ranks.
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Ross Thomson, Scottish Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, said: “Michael Gove clearly has strong links to the north-east of Scotland and it is no surprise to see him throw his hat in the ring.
“However, I have not made any decision on who to support in the leadership contest.
“I will wait to see the full list of candidates before doing so.
“I believe the next Prime Minister should be a Brexiteer and I will be judging them on their plan for leaving the EU and what they’ll do for Scotland.”
Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton, who supports Brexit, said: “I’m sure there’s a keen interest on Michael given his Aberdeen roots.
“However there seems to be a new candidate every day so I’ll be waiting to see the full line-up and read through their plans for moving the country forward.”
Fellow Conservative councillor Alan Donnelly said: “It will be great for Aberdeen, for journalism, for the fishing industry, for the north-east in general. I have not made up my mind about who I will support, they must be both charismatic and competent.”
But Aberdeen North SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said she could not support someone who supports a harder Brexit being installed in Number 10.
She said: “Studies have shown Brexit will hit Aberdeen harder than it will hit anyone else.
“So if we have a Prime Minister that favours a harder Brexit, as has been Michael Gove’s position, the people of Aberdeen will be hit harder by that and I don’t want to see anyone installed who supports that point of view.”