Education secretary Michael Gove declared his ‘love’ for a North London weekly during a school visit last week.
Earlier this year, the Hampstead & Highgate Express reported a speech by the Cabinet minister’s journalist wife, Sarah Vine, in which she said she had considered sending her children to Italy to shield them from the “hate” directed towards their father.
The Ham & High reporter who broke the story, Tim Lamden, met Mr Gove during a school visit last week and asked him whether he had been “frustrated”
The Tory politician replied: “No. I love my wife – I think that she’s a fantastic journalist – and I love the Ham&High. I think it’s a fantastic newspaper.
Mr Gove went on: “I love that question. I think it’s an example of journalistic artfulness of the highest degree but more than anything I love this school, which is doing a fantastic job.
“The most important thing which I hope your reporting will reflect is the wonderful job that this school does.”
Tim’s earlier story, which made the front page of the Evening Standard and was then followed up by the nationals, followed comments by Daily Mail columnist Ms Vine at a charity lunch in Hampstead Garden Suburb.
Speaking about her children, Ms Vine told the audience: “They are 11 and nine now, they’ve just got to the age where they understand what he [Mr Gove] does and they understand that people hate him because people will say things to them in the playground.
“One of Beatrice’s own teachers went on strike and then she said that she 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.