THE Ham and High‘s Tim Lamden had a Michael Gove scoop earlier this year when the Education Secretary’s wife said at a speaking gig in Hampstead Garden Suburb that she had considered moving their children to Italy because of the hatred towards him they had encountered in the school playground. Sarah Vine, the journalist and columnist, had said: “They’ve just got to the age where they understand what he does and they understand that people hate him because people will say things to them in the playground. One of their teachers went on strike and then they said that they saw him on Newsround holding a banner going ‘Michael Gove out’, which I think is quite a strange experience for a small child – and I don’t know how it’s going to affect them at all.” It was a story which jumped to the front page of the Evening Standard and then up to the nationals.
So, when Tim and Mr Gove came face to face today during the Tory big hitter’s tour of the thriving St Luke’s free school in West Hampstead, the ‘and finally’ question was always going to be some reference to his previous story. How do you feel about your wife when she makes these comments?, Tim asked, in a way you couldn’t imagine many access-worried national reporters doing.
Gove looked like a politician who had no intention of puppy-dogging his press officers to hook him out of an awkward question and, amid theatrical guffaws, quickly rolled off an answer about loving his wife – and the Ham & High for that matter – and paying tribute to the “artfulness” of the question. Lucky for him, he certainly looks like a man who has come to terms with the fact he had a sometimes indiscreet Daily Mail columnist as the love of his life.