Michael Gove is set to survive a New Year reshuffle despite reported clashes with Boris Johnson over coronavirus, Downing Street said yesterday.
The Prime Minister's new press secretary Allegra Stratton told reporters Mr Gove was doing an 'excellent job' on both the pandemic and Britain's preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period this month.
Newspapers were briefed at the weekend that the PM had clashed with Mr Gove over whether to put London in the top tier of new coronavirus restrictions.
Michael Gove is set to survive a New Year reshuffle despite reported clashes with Boris Johnson over coronavirus, Downing Street said yesterday
Mr Gove is said to have argued strongly for London to be placed in the highest risk category, only for the Prime Minister to overrule him after the Treasury warned the move would cost an extra 500,000 jobs in the capital.
One Government source was quoted saying he was 'the biggest dove of the lot', adding: 'If he had succeeded in shutting London we could have kissed goodbye to half a million jobs.'
But Miss Stratton yesterday insisted Mr Johnson was happy with the work of his former leadership rival. 'Michael Gove has been doing an excellent job at the Cabinet Office, which is at the heart of Government on so many of these critical issues,' she said.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs his first meeting of the cabinet the day after a reshuffle at 10 Downing Street in central London on February 14, 2020 (File image)
'If it's not Covid, then it's Brexit. If it's not transition and whether or not we're prepared then it's also the Union and the United Kingdom and making sure our relations with the devolved authorities and administrations continue to be good.'
She added: 'Michael Gove is at the heart of the most critical projects.'
Miss Stratton said Mr Johnson was 'happy with his top team' and had no plans for a reshuffle 'just now'. She said she was not aware of plans for a reshuffle in the New Year – but did not rule it out.
Senior Tories have been urging the Prime Minister to conduct a reshuffle to complete the 'reset' of his government following the departure of chief adviser Dominic Cummings last month.