The schools crusade that links Michael Gove to Rupert Murdoch | Politics | The Guardian
The education secretary meets Murdoch frequently and is an enthusiastic backer of the ideas of Joel Klein, the head of Murdoch’s new education division. Within a week of his promotion in 2010, the minister was at dinner with Murdoch, according to officially released details of meetings.
The atmosphere could only have been warm. Gove once sang Murdoch’s praises in a 1999 Times column as “the greatest godfather of mischief in print” who possesses “18th-century pamphleteering vigour”. He wrote that Murdoch “encourages … free thinking. His newspapers … are driven by public demand and the creativity of chaotic, cock-snooking, individuals.”
Murdoch in turn was kind to his former employee. When Gove first arrived at Westminster in 2005 as a backbench MP, the Times topped up his salary with a £60,000-a-year column. His wife still works for the paper.
Murdoch’s publishing arm, HarperCollins, also gave Gove a book advance in 2004, when he was first selected for the safe Conservative seat of Surrey Heath. It was for a history of an obscure 18th-century politician, Viscount Bolingbroke.
Puzzlingly, the book was never delivered. HarperCollins refuses to disclose the size of the advance and its size is not specified in Gove’s register of financial interests. Asked if his advance should be returned eight years later, HarperCollins says Gove “is still committed to writing a book on Bolingbroke but obviously his ministerial duties come first for now”. Gove will not comment.