Boris Johnson sacks Michael Gove as he defies Cabinet calls to quit

LONDON — Boris Johnson fired one of his most senior ministers, Michael Gove, as he brushed off calls from inside his own Cabinet to resign.

A No.10 Downing Street official confirmed that the leveling-up secretary, seen as a key policy mind in Johnson’s government, had been dismissed.

It came on a day of high drama that has gripped Westminster and rocked Johnson’s administration. The prime minister has been hit by a wave of senior resignations and mounting calls from top government figures for him to quit amid anger at his governing style and response to a set of scandals.

The move follows reports earlier on Wednesday that Gove, who has held multiple senior roles in Johnson’s government, had spoken to the PM and urged him to resign. Gove is the first Cabinet minister to be dismissed in the latest round of government exits.

Gove has stood by Johnson since he became leader in 2019, and was most recently tasked with delivering on the prime minister’s flagship “leveling up” agenda to improve neglected parts of the U.K.

He and Johnson were two of the most prominent figures of the campaign to leave the European Union in 2016, and have history.

Johnson was forced to dramatically rule himself out of the race to succeed David Cameron as prime minister in 2016 after Gove’s own shock entry into the contest.