The Environment Secretary was responding to his party’s catastrophic local election results that saw the Tories haemorrhage more than 1,300 seats. Mr Gove delivered firm words came after voters punished the party for Theresa May’s failure to deliver Brexit nearly three years after the democratic vote for it. He told the Daily Telegraph he had not “gone soft” on Brexit, but said the nation’s furious Leave voters had to ‘face facts” a no deal scenario was not going to happen.
He said: “At the moment the arithmetic in the House of Commons is opposed to leaving without a deal.
“There would be economic challenges. We could get through them but they would undoubtedly be there in the short term.”
Speaking from his parents’ house in Aberdeen, Scotland, he added leaving without a deal would “undermine the Union” and the best way of “bringing the country together is to leave with a good deal”.
Mr Gove also said he wanted Britain to have an “independent trade policy” and that to secure it, the best option is to “get the Withdrawal Bill” through and persuade Labour “of the merits” of it.
He also said he had learned lessons from his failed Tory leadership battle, which saw him betray fellow competitor Boris Johnson by withdrawing support for him in the eleventh hour before announcing his own bid for the top spot, adding he is now part of a team.
He then refused to confirm or deny whether he will challenge Mrs May for her role of Prime Minister.
Mr Gove’s remarks come a day after Leave voters took out their fury during the local elections by spoiling their ballots with a message directed to politicians in Westminister – “Deliver Brexit now”.
Exasperated Brexiteer voters spoiled their ballots en masse during this week’s local elections as part of a protest campaign against the “betrayal” of the 2016 referendum decision.
Hundreds of voters tweeted photographs of their spoiled ballots, with the political candidates scratched out with messages including: “None of these. Deliver Brexit!”
The level of voter anger also saw Theresa May’s Conservative Party lose more than 1,300 seats, with the Liberal Democrats the main beneficiaries.
On Twitter, Leave voters shared their spoiled ballots using the hashtag #SpoilYourBallot.