MICHAEL Gove has said he would not run against Boris Johnson in a leadership contest and insists he "made a mistake" when he withdrew his support for the Prime Minister in 2016.

The Levelling Up Secretary told Sky News he backed Johnson in Monday's confidence vote, when the Prime Minister clung onto his job by 211 votes to 148.

Despite the victory for Johnson, the number of rebels was much higher than anticipated and many feel it represented the beginning of the end for the Tory leader. 

When Gove was asked whether he would rival Johnson in any potential leadership battle, he said: "Oh god no!"

Back in 2016, he withdrew his support for Johnson to become Conservative Party leader at the last minute and announced he would stand himself.

MPs then rapidly withdrew their backing for Johnson, who pulled out of the race and Theresa May became PM.

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Gove told Sky News: "I made a mistake in 2016, a misjudgement.

"If you've been in politics for a little while, as I have been, then you know, there are always mistakes you can look back on.

"But no, I think the prime minister is doing a good job, I've been privileged to work alongside him when he made sure the Brexit entanglement, the imbruglia was broken."

Gove's last-minute decision to run for leader in 2016 was seen as ruining Johnson's chances.

He added that he "can understand" why some of his Tory colleagues "have concerns" but said it is important the Government demonstrates it is "focused on delivering for everyone across the United Kingdom".