Michael Gove

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Person.png Michael Gove   Powerbase Sourcewatch WikiquoteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician, journalist)
Michael Gove.jpg
BornGraham Logan
26 August 1967
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Alma materLady Margaret Hall (Oxford)
SpouseSarah Vine
Member ofCommunity Security Trust, Franco-British Colloque, Henry Jackson Society, Notting Hill Set, Trilateral Commission
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations and Secretary of State in Boris Johnson's government. Reappointed by Rishi Sunak

Employment.png Minister for Intergovernmental Relations Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
25 October 2022 - Present
Appointed byRishi Sunak
Preceded byNadhim Zahawi

Employment.png Minister for Intergovernmental Relations Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
18 September 2021 - 6 July 2022
Appointed byBoris Johnson

Employment.png Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
24 July 2019 - 15 September 2021
Appointed byBoris Johnson
Preceded byDavid Lidington

Employment.png Lord Chancellor Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
9 May 2015 - 13 July 2016
Appointed byDavid Cameron
Preceded byChris Grayling
Succeeded byLiz Truss

Employment.png Secretary of State for Justice Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
9 May 2015 - 13 July 2016
Appointed byDavid Cameron
Preceded byChris Grayling
Succeeded byLiz Truss

Employment.png Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
15 July 2014 - 9 May 2015
Appointed byDavid Cameron

Employment.png Secretary of State for Education

In office
12 May 2010 - 15 July 2014
Appointed byDavid Cameron
Succeeded byNicky Morgan

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath

In office
5 May 2005 - 6 July 2022

Michael Gove is a British politician who was Minister for Intergovernmental Relations and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in Boris Johnson's government, and was reappointed to those positions on 25 October 2022 by Rishi Sunak.

He was formerly the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Theresa May's minority government that was elected in the UK/2017 General Election. Earlier, he was a deputy editor of The Times, and latterly a columnist there. From June 2002 to January 2006, Gove was Chairman of the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange which has been influential on Conservative Party policy. At a "Closer to Israel at 65" rally in June 2013, he declared "I am proud to be a friend of Israel. I am proud to be a Zionist."[1]

He was also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He left government in July 2022. He said he would stay on the backbenches when Liz Truss became Prime Minister two months later.


Michael Gove was born in Edinburgh on 26 August 1967, the son of of Ernest and Christine Gove. [2] According to this official biography, his father ran a fish-processing business and his mother was a lab assistant at Aberdeen University before working at Aberdeen School for the Deaf. [3]

Gove attended Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen and Lady Margaret Hall (Oxford) where he was awarded a BA in English in 1988. He worked as a reporter for the Aberdeen Press and Journal in 1989 and then a researcher and reporter for Scottish Television from 1990 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995 he worked as a reporter for BBC News and Current Affairs, [4] working on the Today programme and On The Record. [5] During his time he wrote his first book Michael Portillo: The Future of the Right. He joined The Times in 1996. [6] On his official website he states that he has 'used his position as a writer for The Times and a broadcaster on the BBC to fight for greater personal freedom, a tougher line on crime, a more dynamic economy, a cleaner environment, stronger defence and a better deal for hard-pressed families.' [7] In one notable article in February 2003 he described himself as a 'right-wing polemicist' and declared his love for Tony Blair. In the article, which was headed 'I can't fight my feelings any more: I love Tony', Gove wrote: 'Central to any current assessment of Mr Blair has to be the manner in which he is handling the Iraq crisis,' but also added that: Blair was 'brave, to introduce market pressures into higher education by pushing through university top-up fees in the teeth of opposition from his egalitarian Chancellor. He’s been correct in conceding, to the annoyance of his wife I’m sure, that the European Convention on Human Rights gets in the way of a sane asylum policy. In dealing with the firefighters, and their absurdly selfish strike, he’s been satisfactorily resolute. [8]

From June 2002 to January 2006 he was Chairman of the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange. In 2005 Gove was elected Conservative MP for Surrey Heath and was appointed Shadow Minister for Housing & Planning in David Cameron's shadow cabinet. He was Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families from 2007. [9] He was re-elected as MP for Surrey Heath at the general election held on 6 May 2010. On 12 May he became Schools Secretary in the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Government led by David Cameron.

Gove is married to Sarah Vine, who is a leader writer at The Times. [10]

Neoconservatism and Islam


He is described as an "unabashed neoconservative" [11] Like George Osborne, Gove is a fan of George Bush, and an enthusiast for Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 30 October 2005, on a BBC Panorama programme, he acted as the advocate for the indefinite occupation of Iraq. David Morrison writes:

as Neil Clark pointed out in The Guardian, Vaizey and Gove are both signatories to the Statement of Principles of the British neoconservative organisation, The Henry Jackson Society Project for Democratic Geopolitics, which was launched in Peterhouse College, Cambridge earlier this year. Henry Jackson was a Democrat member of the US Congress for over 40 years until his death in 1983. He opposed détente with the Soviet Union, and is the ideological forbear of modern neo-conservatism. Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz worked for him in the 1970s, and went on to work for Ronald Reagan. “International patrons” of this British Society include the stars in the American neoconservative firmament, for example, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Editor of the Weekly Standard, Richard Perle and James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA. [12]

Former Conservative MP and now Times columnist Matthew Parris writes:

If you had to identify what you might call Michael’s abiding passion in politics, you would find it in a consistent, intelligent rage against what he would see as the unwitting appeasement of wicked and violent men by flabby, woolly-minded liberals. Now in Parliament, he is part of the small group of Tories, somewhat mis-named the Notting Hill Set, in control of the higher brain functions of that great and ancient political beast, the Conservative Party.[13]

In December 2008, Gove described the invasion of Iraq as a "proper British foreign policy success". "Next year, while the world goes into recession," Gove wrote, "Iraq is likely to enjoy 10% GDP growth. Alone in the Arab Middle East, it is now a fully functioning democracy with a free press, properly contested elections and an independent judiciary. The two facts, the economic and the political, are of course connected."[14]

Celsius 7/7

Gove wrote a book on "Islamism" called Celsius 7/7, which was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2006. [15] Gove credited George Weidenfeld, the a political commentator and founder of Weidenfeld & Nicolson as the inspiration for the book, writing: 'It was his idea that I should write a short work tackling head on much of the nonsense which had been spoken and written about "terrorism" in the last few years, and I am immensely grateful to him for that opportunity.' [16] In the book Gove argued that: 'there is a phenomenon called "Islamism", a totalitarian movement in the mould of fascism or communism, and which should be fought with the weapons of war'. [17]. The historian William Dalrymple said of the book: 'Gove is an ill-informed pundit tailoring information to fit pre-existing prejudices':

Gove is an example of the sort of pundit who has spoon-fed neocon mythologies to the British public for the past few years. Gove has never lived in the Middle East, indeed has barely set foot in a Muslim country. He has little knowledge of Islamic history, theology or culture — in Celsius 7/7, he just takes the line of Bernard Lewis on these matters; nor does he speak any Islamic language. None of this, however, has prevented his being billed, on his book’s dust-jacket, “one of Britain’s leading writers and thinkers on "terrorism".

Gove's book is a confused epic of simplistic incomprehension, riddled with more factual errors and misconceptions than any other text I have come across in two decades of reviewing books on this subject. [18]

Gove credited a number of friends and colleagues who helped to shape his thinking in writing the book: 'I am particularly indebted to Dean Godson and Nicholas Boles of the think tank Policy Exchange, Dominic Cummings and James Frayne, formerly of the New Frontiers Foundation, Garvan Walshe and Glyn Gaskarth of the Conservative Research Department and the writers Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stephen Pollard, Oliver Kamm, William Shawcross and Douglas Murray.' [19]

Khurshid Ahmad

On 5 December 2005, Gove criticised Home Secretary Charles Clarke for employing advisors on "extremism" including Ahmad Thompson, Khurshid Ahmad and Mockbul Ali. He later apologised after it emerged he had confused Khurshid Ahmad with another individual of the same name.[20]

PMQs Blunder

In November 2009, Gove helped David Cameron to set up a question to the Prime Minister on Islamic "extremism":

Seeing that two schools linked to Hizb ut Tahrir had received cash from the Early Years Pathfinder scheme which funds free nursery places, Mr Gove had mistakenly thought that it was part of the Preventing Violent Extremism pathfinder project that is supposed to tackle indoctrination. In fact the two schemes are entirely separate. The error meant that Mr Cameron was simply wrong to declare that the schools were receiving cash from an “anti-extremist” fund when he faced Mr Brown across the dispatch box.[21]

The Conservatives also claimed that the schools had not been registered or inspected by Ofsted:

In fact, one of the two schools – in Slough, Berkshire – had posted a glowing commendation from Ofsted on its website. The report was easily accessible by Googling the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, and its veracity could be confirmed with Ofsted.[22]

According to The Independent, the blunder was said to have been "made by a researcher who put together a briefing paper ahead of Prime Minister's Questions":

But it also created deep embarrassment for Mr Gove, who is one of the Tory leader's most trusted advisers and confidants. He has been highlighting the case of the two schools for nearly a month; the rapid revelation of such a basic mistake leaves him with egg on his face.[23]


The Price of Peace

In the Summer of 2000, Gove published a pamphlet on Northern Ireland, called The Price of Peace for the Centre for Policy Studies. According to Ed Vaizey's review, Gove argued that "the peace process has taken us down a dangerous and erroneous path":

The solution, in Gove's eyes, is to abandon the peace process and substitute for it a strategy of "resolute security action"; the ending of prisoner releases; the banning of any party still associated with the principle of violence from participation in the peace process. More broadly, he shows the dangers inherent in appeasement. It is one thing to seek peace, another to put into effect methods of government that one would not contemplate elsewhere in one's country. Peace may be achieved in the short term, but at the price of the long-term infection of the body politic.[24]


Gove received a donation to his constituency office from Annabel's nightclub, while it was owned by Mark Birley.[25] Metals trader Alan Bekhor has also been a donor.[26]



  • Michael Portillo: the future of the right, Fourth Estate, 1995
  • The Price of Peace, Centre for Policy Studies, 27 July 2000.
  • Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006.

External Resources


An appointment by Michael Gove

Dominic CummingsSpecial Adviser to Michael Gove20102014


Related Quotation

"Vaccine passport"““We have no plans to introduce them” said the prime minister (Boris Johnson) when talking about so-called vaccine passports. “I certainly am not planning to issue any vaccine passports and I don't know anyone else in government who would”, said Michael Gove and “no one has been given or will be required to have a vaccine passport” said the man himself, the vaccine's minister Nadhim Zahawi. Now in a slope slipperier than the ones Eddie the Eagle used to chuck himself off, it seems the government have changed their mind. First it was talk of nightclubs or sports events, and now the government is I quote “not ruling out making students be fully vaccinated to attend lectures”.... I guarantee you this is not where it ends.”Michelle Dewberry26 July 2021


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/20222 June 20225 June 2022US
Washington DC
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The 68th Bilderberg Meeting, held in Washington DC, after an unprecedented two year hiatus during which a lot of the Bilderberg regulars were busy managing COVID-19
National Conservative Conference15 May 202317 May 2023LondonA 2023 conference on Conservativism


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  1. "Proud to be a Zionist"
  2. GOVE, Michael Andrew’, Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2009 ; online edn, Nov 2009 [Accessed 20 May 2010]
  3. PDF Copy of Michael Gove, About Michael <http://www.michaelgove.com/about> created 20 May 2010.
  4. Debrett's People of Today, The Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP [Accessed 20 May 2010]
  5. Newsnight Review, Michael Gove, 22 April 2009.
  6. Debrett's People of Today, The Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP [Accessed 20 May 2010]
  7. PDF Copy of Michael Gove, About Michael <http://www.michaelgove.com/about> created 20 May 2010.
  8. Michael Gove, 'I can't fight my feelings any more: I love Tony', The Times, 25 February 2003.
  9. Debrett's People of Today, The Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP [Accessed 20 May 2010]
  10. PDF Copy of Michael Gove, About Michael <http://www.michaelgove.com/about> created 20 May 2010.
  11. Andrew Porter, 'Michael Gove on why diplomas should be ditched and GCSEs made more difficult', The Telegraph, 7 November-2008, Accessed 29 March 2009.
  12. David Morrison 'David Cameron: Blair Mark II?, Spinwatch, 21 November 2005.
  13. Matthew Parris 'Welcome to Cameron's Europe-hating and Pentagon-loving party' The Times Online, May 20, 2006.
  14. Michael Gove, Triumph of Freedom over Evil, Scotland on Sunday, 21 December 2008.
  15. Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006, p.iv.
  16. Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006, p.141.
  17. Andy McSmith, Michael Gove: The modest moderniser,The Independent, 27-September-2008, Accessed 29-March-2009
  18. William Dalrymple, A global crisis of understanding, The Times, 24 September-2009.
  19. Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006, p.142.
  20. Paul Waugh, When an 'extremist' is not an extremist, Evening Standard Blogs, 26 November 2009.
  21. Francis Elliot, Schools supremo Michael Gove learns painful lesson about getting the facts right, The Times, 27 November 2009.
  22. Richard Garner, Why Conservatives failed the test on Islamic schools, Independent, 27 November 2009.
  23. Nigel Morris, Nigel Morris: Flaky research lands Gove in hot water, Independent, 27 November 2009.
  24. Ed Vaizey, We Tories are uneasy, Guardian, 23 August 2000.
  25. Mystery over Michael Gove's cash resolved, The First Post, accessed 3 September 2009.
  26. Hotline - MPs Register of Interest, Euromoney, 4 July 2008.
  27. Nathalie Tamam, ‘Informed’ Weekly Briefing, Conservative Friends of Israel, 01-August-2008, Accessed 29-March-2009
  28. Sam Coates, Francis Elliott, Fran Yeoman and Helen Nugent, 'The new generation of Conservative candidates', The Times, 30 April 2009.
  29. PDF Copy of Michael Gove, About Michael <http://www.michaelgove.com/about> created 20 May 2010.