Michael Gove’s wife has selective sympathy for John Bercow

Sarah Vine now feels sorry for the speaker...whom her husband tried to unseat a few weeks ago


The Daily Mail lays out what it considers the reform agenda for the new Tory government in its leader column today.

“At the ministry of justice, Michael Gove sets his formidable intellect to work on restoring sanity to human rights law,” it coos, in tones that could have been penned by Gove’s other half, Mail columnist Sarah Vine, whose latest offering sits on the very next page.

Vine’s piece sees the sage of fleet street muse on reports that Sally Bercow, wife of House of Commons speaker John Bercow, had an affair with lawyer Alan Bercow, her husband’s cousin. Vine writes:

“John Bercow […] is far from my favourite person. But I can’t help feeling a little sorry for the poor man as he (once again) suffers terrible humiliation in his personal life.”

MediaWatch wonders whether Ms Vine would have felt the same sympathy for Mr Bercow if a recent plot to unseat him as speaker on the last day of parliament before the election had been successful. The sneaky scheme would have introduced a secret ballot for election of the speaker, and so help Tories resentful of what they consider Bercow’s favouring the opposition to remove him from his post.

The leader of that piece of skulduggery? None other than Ms Vine’s husband, chief whip Michael Gove.

On that occasion it was Gove who was left red-faced after a backbench revolt by Tory MPs foiled the coup, despite the exertions of his ‘formidable intellect’; a ‘terrible humiliation’ in his professional life, for which he was duly rewarded with a cabinet post as minister of justice.

Writing before the election (May 6), Ms Vine had some less sympathetic things to say about the speaker:

“Politics is the opposite of meritocratic: keep your head down and get on with your job, and you’ll get no glory. Spend your days conniving and plotting, and you’ll rise straight to the top. Just ask John Bercow.”

Or ask her husband, Michael Gove.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


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