READER POLL: As our MP John Hayes backs Michael Gove as the next Prime Minister, who would get your vote?
South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes has backed Michael Gove to be the next UK Prime Minister.
At the end of a dramatic day when an emotional Theresa May announced her intention to stand down as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7, Sir John has revealed who he will be supporting in the race to Number 10 Downing Street.
Describing Mr Gove as "the most able man in the Government by a considerable channel", Sir John also revealed that he "never got on personally" with Mrs May who will stay on as Prime Minister until her successor is appointed.
Currently Environment Secretary in the Prime Minister's Cabinet, Mr Gove is yet to reveal whether he will be joining the likes of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Rabb and one-time Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey in entering the Tory leadership contest.
Speaking to Spalding Today, Sir John said: "I'm not surprised that the Prime Minister is going down on June 7.
"I think it's the best thing for all concerned, although I'm not going to be one of those people who condemn and criticise Theresa May.
"Whoever had the job of implementing the 2016 European Union (EU) referendum would have had a tough time doing so.
"I think Mrs May is a very determined and decent person but it was clear that she could not command the support and confidence of the party.
"So it's best for all that she has gone, even though it is very easy to criticise Theresa May."
Sir John served as a Security Minister between May 2015 and July 2016 at the same time as Mrs May was Home Secretary.
But when former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after the EU referendum result in June 2016, Mrs May became Prime Minister, moving Sir John to the Department of Transport where he served as Minister until leaving the Government in January 2018.
Sir John said: "I've never been a close political ally of Theresa's and we never got on personally.
"However, I've always enjoyed a good working relationship with her and we worked closely together at the Home Office.
"Anyone who does such a job makes a great deal of sacrifice because it's a draining experience.
"There will be a time of reflection for Theresa, but it's now time to choose a leader to take us forward, something which she was unable to do.
"The most able man in the Government by a considerable channel is Michael Gove and I hope his name will go forward as a candidate for leader of the Conservative Party.
"We will have the chance to consider his prospects and if he does put his name forward, Michael will get my support."