The schools crusade that links Michael Gove to Rupert Murdoch | Politics | The Guardian
On a freezing November day in 2010, the education secretary, Michael Gove, turned out in east London to inspect a desolate stretch of dockside ground near City airport, where Rupert Murdoch had offered to build an academy school.
The cabinet minister was accompanied by Rebekah Brooks, then News International chief executive, and an entourage of other top Murdoch staff, including James Harding and Will Lewis.
Despite the unprepossessing venue there was no mistaking the company’s enthusiasm for the project. Murdoch described himself in a speech as the saviour of British education, thanks to his company’s “adoption of new academies here in London”.
It was a high-water mark of the love-in between Gove, Murdoch and the Conservative government. Gove, a former Times journalist, had previously gone out of his way to flatter his own proprietor, writing that Murdoch “encourages … free-thinking”.
Shortly after the Docklands visit, the phone-hacking scandal disrupted these close relations. News International’s proposed academy was quietly abandoned. Newham council says nothing was subsequently done to fulfil Murdoch’s promises.