Bob Seely explains to OnTheWight why he’s switched from Gove to Boris Johnson for PM

If you want to understand why MP Bob Seely has shifted his support from Gove to Johnson, here’s our conversation with him. Many points were discussed, including why he thinks the candidates will be wise to listen to the needs of the Isle of Wight – and how that may lead to Boris Johnson visiting the Island.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, has shifted the person he is supporting as the next leader of the Conservative Party away from Michael Gove.

The conversion from Gove to Boris Johnson was broken by BBC Westminster reporter Jessica Parker (ex-BBC South Today), revealed during BBC Politics reporter Chris Mason’s live coverage of yesterday’s voting ballot.

A significant change
With it being a significant change, we spoke to the Isle of Wight MP about his reasons for the change.

We opened by pointing out that the MP had been a staunch supporter of Gove in the previous weeks (he’d used hashtags like #Gove4PM #ReadyToLead on his official Twitter account), to which he responded:

“I was always slightly divided between the two of them. I hold both of them in high regard. I started off by hoping that Michael was going to run a really strong campaign. For various reasons I decided to back him – he’s a very good orator and he’s full of good ideas.

“I’ve changed to Boris because – and I’m not being negative about Michael – I think that Boris has run a better campaign. I’m more in tune with some of the things he’s saying, specifically on HS2 – I hope he’s going to scrap it, as we need that money spent on regional regeneration programmes, which includes the Isle of Wight.”

Seely: Johnson sympathetic to IW needs
He went on to say,

“I have talked with Boris about what the Island needs and he’s sympathetic.

“I think we badly, badly need to deliver Brexit. We need a resolution – and then we need to move on to other things.

“I also think that Boris has the ability to reach out to people who don’t normally vote – not everyone likes him – I do think he has the stature to achieve.”

We asked if that meant Seely didn’t think Gove wouldn’t deliver Brexit,

“I’m not saying that, I’m just saying that we need clarity. I think Boris is clear – and the one message I am getting from Islanders is, ‘Just get on with it’, and we need somebody who will just get on with it. It’s critically important.”

Johnson being open?
When we raised that one of the criticisms of Boris was that he hadn’t put himself forward for questioning, we asked was that a concern to Bob? He responded,

“He did last night [in the BBC debate].

“Boris has spent years in the public eye. He’s spent years debating the public. He had a big Sunday Times interview last week and he took part in the debate last night, so no – I don’t think that’s going to fly. He’s doing lots of Hustings.

“Just because he doesn’t talk at every single point where any journalist wants, it doesn’t mean that he is hiding.

“You could also say that he rejuvenated politics. That he reaches out to people who don’t normally vote.”

OnTheWight asked, “So Boris Johnson is the next best thing for Britain?”. The Island’s MP replied,

“I think we need a Prime Minister that will deliver Brexit and I think we need one who can hopefully reach out with the domestic agenda after Brexit, which renews our country – I like both Boris and Michael, but on balance I think Boris is more likely to achieve that.”

Listen to the Island
OnTheWight asked what were the mechanics of how these things work, he replied,

“I can go to the leadership candidate and say, if you’re in the last two, the Isle of Wight Conservatives is one of the biggest Associations in the country and if you say you’re not interested in recognising the needs of the Isle of Wight, you probably won’t get many votes.

“But if you do say, actually we do need regional policies, not just for the Island, but for everywhere else, including the Isle of Wight – we need to recognise that while Scottish Islands have additional needs and are additionally funded – the Isle of Wight hasn’t had that additional funding.

“I want them in principle to accept that there’s a case. What that might do then is result in something a bit more cross-governmental, like at the Cabinet Office. So I can speed up this process which would otherwise take years. Nothing may come of it and I don’t want to promise stuff that I can’t deliver.

“I’m trying to work toward something which will result in the practical outcome over the next few months, but the most important way of doing that at the moment is highlighting the needs of the Island here.

The Isle of Wight has 1/40th of votes PM candidates need
The Isle of Wight MP continued,

“We deliver 1/40th or 1/50th depending on how people vote – depending on now many people vote. Normally Tory membership, 85% of the membership vote – so we can deliver 1/40th of the total required.

“If you add up Portsmouth, Southampton, Eastleigh and a few other constituencies around that, the nearest seven probably add up to what we have here – This is why Dominic Raab visited last week.

“So what I’m trying to do is use our Association for public good.

“What I’m saying is actually listen to the Isle of Wight and then maybe you’ll reach out to my voters.”

Image: garryknight under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019 10:05pm



Filed under: Election, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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30 Comments on "Bob Seely explains to OnTheWight why he’s switched from Gove to Boris Johnson for PM"

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Anyone supporting Johnson no longer lives in the same moral universe as a civilized society. The man is the most dishonest, conniving, unprincipled wretch to darken the door of Westminster and there’s a lot of competition for that title. Bob should be ashamed of the places his desperate ambition for a ministerial car have taken him to.


‘ Island Bob ‘ clearly has no principals and is just doing his level best to back the winner. He’d likely flog his granny for the chance at advancement. The sooner the Island is rid of him the better ( please Greens and Labour come to a deal for one of you to stand aside ).

iain mckie

I am an unashamed Libertarian right winger: free markets free trade free speech free movement tiny government and equality for all. Seely represents none of those.


Why would we expect any less from a man parachuted into a safe seat? Mr Seely is merely a prop for hire. He can dress it up however he likes (pragmatism, putting island interests first etc.), but he’s just another person trying his hand at scaling the greasy pole.


Also, did he actually write ‘Eastley’ rather than ‘Eastleigh’ – next he’ll be calling himself the MP for the ‘Isle of White’ – laughable.

Alternative Perspective

So Bob Seely was torn between supporting Michael Gove or Boris Johnson.


He didn’t just support Michael Gove, he was one of the two MPs who nominated him!

Isn’t the truth that Bob Seely is a shallow political lightweight that is motivated purely by self interest.

iain mckie

In my view Seely is utterly two faced and untrustworthy

Benny C
Bob Seeley supports all that is bad about current day politics. We should therefore ALL vote him out. Morals like those displayed by Boris aJohnson have no place in public life. He couldn’t set a worse example. Presumably Bob agrees that Burkhas make females look like letterboxes, £300m a week is paid over to the EU for nothing in return and adultery is perfectly ok. Tell Boris’s… Read more »
iain mckie

Gove supported the reintroduction of the death penalty. Seely supported him. Turns my stomach.


Gove wrote that artice more than 20 years ago. Times and attitudes change.


Gove had better prices for a gram, but when you do the coke and a girl combo, turns out Boris was cheaper.

Wonder what Seely got out of it? The promise of a defence post maybe, oh and lots of antipathy from the folks he is supposed to represent if the comments on here are any indication. Never mind I think it won’t be long before there is a general election. The United Kingdom has never had a Prime Minister imposed on it in this manner before, Johnson will… Read more »
iain mckie

Seely is a warmonger.


Britain HAS had a PM under such circumstances before. Many times. Strict interpretation of the rules allow the Tories to deal with it in house, but decent behaviour in these circumstances would let the public at least SEE what is going on. For example Johnson’s comments about GATT and WTO last week deserve cross-examination because they display his inevitable failure to grasp, or disinterest in, vital details


Never knew Boris was wanting to scrap HS2… That would save the country some £60+ billion, less massive compensation payouts for cancelled contracts etc. Gets my vote just on that one point.

Mark L Francis

He also promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers constructing Heathrow’s 3rd Runway. It’s almost worth the cost just for that alone. They could always raffle off the chance to drive it.
I would give it a go.

I watched the BBC shambles, er sorry, debate the other night. Was it just me or did the lot of them with the exception of Rory Stewart come across as out of touch and trying to avoid answering as much as possible? Or just lying? Why do MP’s think the electorate are stupid? Many of us can see through their ridiculous posturing and bluff and I wouldn’t… Read more »
Mark L Francis

Bearing in mind the electorate in question is the membership of the Conservative Party, these MPs presumably know their own better than we do, Colin.


British politics is in a dreadful state with the political class completely distant from the struggles of everyday life. None have the ability to make the right decisions about Brexit and don’t represent the needs of the majority. Neoliberalism under the Tories is unnecessary and cruel and they need to go. The alternative is true Socialism that delivers people’s needs instead of ruling class greed.


What a great opportunity for our MP to demonstrate to the next Prime Minister that our ‘‘Estuarial Anomaly’ is actually an Island and grant us ‘Island status’ with its concomitant benefits.

Alternative Perspective

Will be interesting if the final two are Gove and Johnson.

Just imagine if Gove wins, where will that leave Bob Seely?

How will Bob Seely seek to spin himself out of that one?

Alternative Perspective

Phew! Lucky


Must be: honest, transparent, industrious, accountable, creative, innovative AND understand, in depth, the psychology of all other World leaders.
Also desirable: integrity, commitment and passion (within limits).
Please note: This is a non-remunerated, voluntary post. Those with journalism or business qualifications need not apply.


God forbid, Boris Johnson for Prime Minister who could possibly vote for this educated idiot only those puppets who will do whatever it takes to keep a job. The political class have lost the plot


Bob Seely backed the right horse at the right time. Can’t understand why Bob ever backed Gove unless he was always part of the Boris Team who wanted to humiliate traitorous Gove for backstabbing Boris in 2016 thus giving us the disastrous Remainer May.
In which case he’ll no doubt be rewarded.
It’ll be interesting to see if his was one of the spoilt ballot papers.

Alternative Perspective

Are you suggesting he might have put a cross in all the boxes to ensure he backed the winning candidate?

iain mckie

Seely pretends to be pro-Brexit, just like Gove. But when it became apparent that the awful Johnson was the clear leader Sideshow Bob switched sides.

iain mckie

I was at school with Hunt. Don’t remember him at all. Anonymous character.


He was the one who sat in the corner with a cone on his head