Michael Gove announces he is standing down at general election

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Michael Gove announces he is standing down at general election

The Conservative minister has been an outspoken supporter of Israel since becoming MP for Surrey Heath in 2005

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Communities Secretary Michael Gove giving his keynote address during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Monday October 4, 2021.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove giving his keynote address during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Monday October 4, 2021.

Michael Gove has announced he is stepping down as an MP just days after giving a speech in which he called for politicians to “do better” in the fight against antisemitism.

In an announcement to his local party on Friday evening the Communities Secretary said “the chance to serve is wonderful” …. “but there comes a moment when you know that it is time to leave. 

“That a new generation should lead.”

As a former education secretary, justice secretary, environment secretary and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Gove’s decision came amid a mass exodus of Conservatives ahead of the July 4th general election.

Michael Gove speaks with Ambassador Mark Regev
(Credit: Blake Ezra Photography)

Gove, who gave no sign of wanting to quit politics when he delivered a lengthy antisemitism speech at the JW3 community centre last Tuesday, was facing a big challenge to hold on to his Surrey Heath seat, particularly from the Liberal Democrats.

An MP since 2005, Gove has always presented himself as a big ally of the community, regularly speaking at communal dinners, and expressing strong support for Israel and for Zionism.

On Tuesday he was keen to stress how Rishi Sunak’s government “is taking action” in the fight against antisemitism.

He blamed “opposition peers “

MIchael Gove addresses the UJIA annual dinner (Credit: Blake Ezra Photography)
for stalling the progress of the government’s anti-BDS legislation, even though the bill has been heavily criticised by MPs and peers within his own party. 

Not Jewish himself, Gove has always expressed admiration for the community during his political career.

In speeches he regularly states:” “I was born, will live and die proud to be a Zionist.”

Speaking earlier this week to the national media at JW3 Gove to warn antisemitism is ‘currency of hate’ connecting Islamists with far-right and left he said:” When Jewish people are under threat, all our freedoms are threatened.

“The safety of the Jewish community is the canary in the mine. Growing antisemitism is a fever which weakens the whole body politic.”

Michael Gove addressing the annual CFI lunch (Credit: John Rifkin)

In recent years he has invited grassroots communal organisations such as the CAA into meetings, alongside the Board and the JLC.

Challenged last Tuesday over claims that he sometimes presented Jewish communal opinion as being unanimous, especially over support for the government’s anti-BDS bill, Gove branded those argued against the legislation on the grounds it could make antisemitism worse as “appeasers”. Michael Gove admits progress has ‘slowed’ for government’s anti-BDS bill

Earlier this year, when Jewish News visited Europe’s largest Jewish state school JFS, some teachers in the history department were openly critical of the changes to the curriculum made under Gove’s spell as education secretary, arguing they had impacted on critical analysis.

In recent months Gove faced claims he was seeking to replace the government’s adviser on antisemitism Lord Mann with someone more politically aligned.

He denied the claims.

A record 78 Tory MPs have said they will not stand again at the election, beating the previous record of 72 from 1997.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: