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Michael Gove
Michael Gove Official Portrait Cropped.jpg
Gove in 2020
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
Assumed office
25 October 2022
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Preceded by Simon Clarke
In office
15 September 2021 – 6 July 2022
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Preceded by Robert Jenrick
Succeeded by Greg Clark
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
Assumed office
25 October 2022
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Preceded by Nadhim Zahawi
In office
18 September 2021 – 6 July 2022
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Nadhim Zahawi
Member of Parliament
for Surrey Heath
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Nick Hawkins
Majority 18,349 (31.3%)
Personal details
Graeme Andrew Logan

(1967-08-26) 26 August 1967 (age 56)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Political party Conservative
Other political
Labour (1983)
Sarah Vine
(m. 2001; sep. 2021)
Children 2
Education Robert Gordon's College
Alma mater Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (BA)

Michael Andrew Gove (/ɡv/; born Graeme Andrew Logan, 26 August 1967) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations since 2021. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Surrey Heath since 2005. A member of the Conservative Party, he has served in various Cabinet positions under Prime Ministers David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Gove has twice run to become Leader of the Conservative Party, in 2016 and 2019, finishing in third place on both occasions.

Born in Aberdeen, Gove was in care until being adopted aged four months old, after which he was raised in the Kittybrewster area of the city. He attended the independent Robert Gordon's College and studied English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He then began a career as a journalist at The Press and Journal before having a long tenure as a leader writer at The Times. Elected for Surrey Heath at the 2005 general election, he was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet by Cameron in 2007 as Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

Appointed Secretary of State for Education in the Cameron–Clegg coalition, Gove terminated the previous Labour government's Building Schools for the Future programme, reformed A-Level and GCSE qualifications in favour of final examinations, and responded to the Trojan Horse scandal. The National Association of Head Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT passed motions of no confidence in his policies at their conferences in 2013. In the 2014 cabinet reshuffle he was moved to the post of chief whip. Following the 2015 general election and the formation of the majority Cameron government, Gove was promoted to Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. As the co-convenor of Vote Leave, Gove was seen, along with Johnson, a fellow Conservative MP, as one of the most prominent figures of the 2016 referendum on EU membership. He was campaign manager for Johnson in the 2016 Conservative Party leadership election but withdrew his support on the morning Johnson was due to declare and announced his own candidacy, finishing third behind May and Andrea Leadsom.

Following May's appointment as Prime Minister, Gove was dismissed from the Cabinet but was appointed to the second May government as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following the 2017 general election. He launched a second Conservative leadership bid in 2019 although eventually came third behind Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. Upon the appointment of Johnson as Prime Minister, Gove was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with responsibilities including preparations for a no-deal Brexit. He took on the additional role of minister for the Cabinet Office in the 2020 cabinet reshuffle. After the 2021 cabinet reshuffle he served as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations until Gove told Johnson to resign during the July 2022 Government crisis and was dismissed by Johnson. Under Prime Minister Sunak, Gove was reinstated to his previous roles of Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.

Early life

Gove was born as Graeme Andrew Logan on 26 August 1967. His biological mother, whom he originally believed to have been an unmarried Edinburgh student, was in fact a 23-year-old cookery demonstrator. Gove regarded his birthplace as Edinburgh until it was revealed in a biography in 2019 that he was born in a maternity hospital in Fonthill Road, Aberdeen. Logan was put into care soon after he was born. At the age of four months he was adopted by a Labour-supporting couple in Aberdeen, Ernest and Christine Gove, by whom he was brought up. After he joined the Gove family, Logan's name was changed to Michael Andrew Gove. His father, Ernest, ran a fish processing business and his mother, Christine, was a lab assistant at the University of Aberdeen, before working at the Aberdeen School for the Deaf.

Gove, his parents, and his sister Angela lived in a small property in the Kittybrewster area of Aberdeen, before relocating to Rosehill Drive. He was educated at two state schools (Sunnybank Primary School and Kittybrewster Primary School), and later, on the recommendation of his primary school teacher, he sat and passed the entrance exam for the independent Robert Gordon's College. In October 2012, he wrote an apology letter to his former French teacher for misbehaving in class. Gove joined the Labour Party in 1983 and campaigned on behalf of the party for the 1983 general election. Outside of school, he spent time as a Sunday school teacher at Causewayend Church. As he entered sixth year he had to apply for a scholarship as his family fell on difficult economic circumstances. He passed the scholarship exam and served as a school prefect in his final two years.

From 1985 to 1988 he read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, during which time he joined the Conservative Party. He became a member of the Oxford University Conservative Association and was secretary of Aberdeen South Young Conservatives. He helped to write speeches for Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet ministers, including Peter Lilley and Michael Howard. During his first year, he met future Prime Minister Boris Johnson and ran his campaign to be President of the Oxford Union. In an interview with Andrew Gimson, Gove remarked that at Oxford, Johnson was "quite the most brilliant extempore speaker of his generation". Gove was elected as Oxford Union President a year after Johnson. He graduated with an upper second.

After university, when applying for a job at the Conservative Research Department, he was told he was "insufficiently political" and "insufficiently Conservative", so he turned to journalism.

Journalistic career

Gove first found employment on the Peterborough column of The Daily Telegraph, after passing an interview with Max Hastings. Struggling to maintain his career in London, he moved back to Aberdeen and became a trainee reporter at The Press and Journal, where he spent several months on strike in the 1989–1990 dispute over union recognition and representation. From 1990 to 1991 he worked as a reporter for Scottish Television, with a brief interlude at Grampian Television in Aberdeen.

After moving to national television in 1991, Gove worked for the BBC's On the Record, and the Channel 4 current affairs programme A Stab in the Dark, alongside David Baddiel and Tracey MacLeod. In 1994 he began working for the BBC's Today programme. In 1995 he was identified by The Guardian as part of a group of "a new breed of 21st-century Tories". He broke the news of the 1995 Conservative Party leadership election thanks to his connections with the upper echelons of the party.

He joined The Times in 1996 as a leader writer and assumed posts as its comment editor, news editor, Saturday editor and assistant editor. He has also written a weekly column on politics and current affairs for the newspaper and contributed to The Times Literary Supplement, Prospect magazine and The Spectator. He remains on good terms with Rupert Murdoch, whom Gove described in evidence before the Leveson Inquiry as "one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years". He wrote a sympathetic biography of Michael Portillo and a highly critical study of the Northern Ireland peace process (The Price of Peace), where he compared the Good Friday Agreement to appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930s.

He was a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze and Newsnight Review on BBC Two.

See also

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