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The meaning of Michael Gove

As the former education secretary struggles to stay in the race to be the next prime minister, universities watch on with considerable interest.

It was the former New Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell who formulated the golden rule of politics that if a bad news story dominates the headlines for a week then the individual at the heart of the situation is usually toast. That was a rule for an age shaped by tabloid newspapers and ministerial codes of conduct rather than by social media and the shameless effrontery of post-Trump politicians.

As we enter day five of news stories about “coke-shame Tory Michael Gove” as The Sun has decided to call him, the environment secretary is clinging by his fingertips to any chance of staying in the Conservative leadership race. Last week, Gove was second favourite behind Boris Johnson to succeed Theresa May, with most bookies offering odds of 3/1. He has now drifted out to 14/1.

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