Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles has been named as chairman of Michael Gove’s campaign to be Conservative Party leader and prime minister.
The news comes just a day after Skills Minister Mr Boles had publicly announced that he was supporting Brexit campaign leader Boris Johnson for the party leadership.
But those plans were left in tatters after Mr Johnson, who was widely expected to challenge for the Tory leadership, stunned everyone moments before the deadline for nominations expired by stating he would not take part in the fight for the top job.
That was soon followed by the revelation that Mr Boles had agreed to chair Mr Gove’s leadership fight.
Mr Boles said: “It is a great pleasure to have been asked by my good friend to run his campaign to be our next Prime Minister.
“It is unexpected and his recent decision has not been an easy one, but we need someone who is able to build the right team to deliver for the British people.
We need someone who is able to build the right team to deliver for the British people.”Nick Boles MP
“I believe that Michael Gove is the only person who can do that.
“He is a man of great conviction and has been at the forefront of pushing for reforms that deliver for the least well off in our society.”
However, previosuly spelling out his support for Mr Johnson on www.conservativehome.com, Mr Boles stated: “I have worked closely with Mr Johnson as his chief of staff when he was first elected Mayor of London. We have had well-advertised differences in the past.
“Many of my closest friends in politics, people who fought alongside me in successive battles to modernise our party, and win back the trust of the British people, people who shared my feelings of dismay at the result of the referendum and the resignation of a leader we believed in, will struggle with the choice I am recommending.
“I understand completely where they are coming from. But I am going to spend the next three months doing my best to explain to them, as the spirit of my late father explained to me, why the national interest must come first and why, in the national interest, we must elect Johnson.
Candidates in the Conservative leadership race are Home Secretary Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, Minister of State for Energy, Andrea Leadsom, and former leadership candidate Liam Fox as well as Mr Gove.