Two south Lincolnshire MPs who were on opposite sides of the EU (European Union) referendum argument are united together at the start of the Conservative Party leadership contest.
South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes, who campaigned for a “No” vote in last month’s referendum, is to back Justice Secretary Michael Gove to succeed David Cameron, both as Tory leader and Prime Minister.
Mr Gove’s campaign, against Home Secretary Theresa May, Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom and former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, will be led by Skills Minister Nick Boles whose Grantham and Stamford constituency includes Bourne.
Mr Hayes, who originally indicated his support for former London mayor Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister, said: “The country voted for Britain to exit from the EU and the only person who can take that forward is the person who believed in it.
“I would have supported Boris Johnson, had he stood, but with him not being in the race, I’ll be voting for Michael Gove.
“Although I have a good working relationship with Theresa May, it’s not reasonable for her to take something forward that she voted against.
“Michael Gove is a man of great depth, great determination and he will certainly have my support.”
Mr Boles, who would also have supported Mr Johnson had he stood, said: “It is a great pleasure to have been asked by my good friend (Michael Gove) to run his campaign to be our next Prime Minister.
“We need someone who is able to build the right team to deliver for the British people and 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.”
I would have supported Boris Johnson, had he stood, but with him not being in the race, I’ll be voting for Michael Gove.South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes