Belfast Telegraph

PM contender Gove knows the Sash, identifies with Orangeism and had 'enormous' unionist cartoon in office, new book reveals

Environment Secretary Michael Gove (BBC/PA)
Environment Secretary Michael Gove (BBC/PA)

One of the contenders to be the next leader of the Conservative Party knows all the words to The Sash, a new book has revealed.

A new biography of Environment Secretary Michael Gove tells of how he closely identified with the politics of Orangeism and had a fascination with the Troubles.

Owen Bennett's book  'Michael Gove: A Man in a Hurry' tells of how the former journalist had "an enormous cartoon of the Ulster Unionist Party in parliament - a great big Orange banner type of affair" hanging in his London flat during the 1990s.

Journalist Sean O'Grady who worked with Mr Gove at the Independent said that the PM hopeful's politics were "quite orange".

Mr O'Grady said that the Environment Secretary's fascination with unionism was a "bit odd" and remembered that "he'd be perfectly happy to sing along with Orange songs - 'the sash my father wore', all that sort of stuff".

Mike Elrick who trained as a journalist with Mr Gove remembered that he was "very, very strongly supportive of Ulster Protestantism, and very much sided with the 'Protestant' political parties".

"I remember him singing various Ulster songs - partly in jest, but he knew the words," Mr Elrick said.

Mr Gove was strongly opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and addressed the issue in a study of the Northern Ireland peace process 'The Price of Peace' which compared the agreement to the appeasement of Nazis and the condoning of the desires of peadophiles.

In the study he described the agreement as a "moral stain" and a "humiliation of our army, police and parliament".

Speaking at the weekend Mr Gove said that he was in a "strong position to command the confidence" of the DUP in his bid to become Prime Minister.

Michael Gove (third left) with DUP’s Ian Paisley, Paul Girvan, Diane Dodds, Nigel Dodds and Michelle McIlveen during a visit to Antrim
Michael Gove (third left) with DUP’s Ian Paisley, Paul Girvan, Diane Dodds, Nigel Dodds and Michelle McIlveen during a visit to Antrim

The Environment Secretary described himself as a "unionist to my bootstraps" and said one of the main reasons he entered politics was to strengthen the UK as whole.

Mr Gove was criticised on Monday for describing embattled Secretary of State Karen Bradley as "brilliant".

He was been considered one of the front-runners for the Tory leadership until he admitted using the class A drug cocaine during his career as a journalist.

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