As the News International contagion spreads, Michael Gove has been conspicuously silent about his links to the Murdoch empire, including a £60,000+ annual contract and his close relationship with the man now charged with mopping up the scandal.

A journalist by trade, Gove held a highly lucrative weekly columnist for The Times until 11 January 2010. Stangely, however, the contract with News International, which effectively doubled his standard MP pay packet, remained on the books for at least nine months and into Gove’s tenure as a cabinet minister before it was finally removed from the register of members’ interests on 28 March 2011.

Gove is contracted with Murdoch owned Harper Collins to write a biography of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, and his wife remains Beauty Editor of The Times.

Interest is also growing into his relationship with the man heading up News Corporation’s new standards committee, Joel Klein.

Many of Gove’s ideas for his free schools pet project have been borrowed from Klein, a former chancellor of the New York City school system. He came to the UK in January at Gove’s invitation to speak at the government’s Free Schools Conference, and to visit the King Solomon academy, run by a potential free schools operator.

At the conference, Klein gushed about his pal:

“This country is so lucky to have a man with Michael’s vision and commitment … In my world that makes you a hero, my friend.”

Klein stepped down from his position as schools Chancellor last year, walking straight into a $2m a year job as CEO of News Corporation’s education division. Last month, News Corp were awarded a $27m bid-free contract by the state of New York to develop software to track student test scores.

Klein has, in recent days been brought into Rupert Murdoch’s inner circle, to offer guidance on the phone hacking scandal. Murdoch has formed a “management and standards committee” to fight the crisis, which will report directly to Klein.

A figurehead of the free schools movement, Klein used his time at New York city hall to end teacher tenure and close more than 100 public schools. He and Mayor Michael Bloomberg replaced them with a free market system of charter schools, outside of public control and with selective admissions processes.

Sound familiar?

  1. Oh dear, poor Harry is more intellectually challenged than usual today. Must have been a hard weekend.

  2. So? What’s your point?

    And is that the best you can do, Richard? We can tell you’re left wing: no worthwhile answer, all mouth and no substance.

    Les Hinton married Gordon’s PR adviser. Oh no, Ed MUST resign!


    If we wanted to read your pathetic little hate rants we’d be over there. Stop comment-bombing this blog with adverts for your scummy little rag.


    Lucy, leave him be. If he gets another 28 readers he’ll hit 100 and those ads will start to pay for those calls to Derek and Kevin. Damian doesn’t answer any more, now he’s found a higher calling – even higher than Gordon.

    By the way Red, George Osborne’s wife says hi.



    From: xxxx | Sent: 27 January 2011 To: xxxx
    Subject: Important: Phone hacking

    Dear all,

    Tom Baldwin has requested that any front bench spokespeople use the following line when questioned on phone hacking.

    BSkyB bid and phone tapping
    These issues should not be linked. One is a competition issue, the other an allegation of criminal activity.

    On BSkyB, we have been consistent in calling for fair play. We believe ministers should conduct themselves properly in what is a quasi-judicial process. We said Vince Cable showed he was incapable of behaving fairly towards News Corp. We have since raised questions about whether Jeremy Hunt can be fully impartial given his record of past statements. We do believe the bid should be referred to the Competition Commission and think Hunt should get on with it. Downing Street says that Cameron’s dinners with Murdoch will not affect Hunt’s judgement. We have to take them at their word.

    On phone hacking, we believe the police should thoroughly investigate all allegations. But this is not just an issue about News International. Almost every media organisation in the country may end up becoming embroiled in these allegations. This goes to the root of a wider problem in public life. MPs are taking a hard look at themselves in the mirror over expenses. It is time the media did so too over the way it conducts itself.

    Frontbench spokespeople who want to talk about their personal experiences of being tapped should make it clear they are doing just that – speaking from personal experience.

    We must guard against anything which appears to be attacking a particular newspaper group out of spite.


    Labour Party Press Office

  6. You grossly mischaracterize what Joel Klein did with the NYC schools — not his intentions, but the results. Klein used his time at New York city hall ATTEMPTING to end teacher tenure; he did not succeed. We have a strong union (the UFT) and we have not gone for the pay for performance contracts other locals (Washington, DC, Baltimore, a few others) agreed to.
    You are right that he did close more than 100 public schools and that he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (founder of Bloomberg News and the richest man in NYC — really) wanted to replace them with a free market system of charter schools, outside of public control and with selective admissions processes, but most of those schools were replaced by smaller public schools and the charters will likely be subject to greater oversight in the future thanks to the work of Bill Perkins,
    a state senator, the UFT and others.
    I am not fan of Klein and he very much wanted to do away with tenure and he did expand the charter school system in New York, but he did not quite do that. It has been a struggle to keep that from happening.
    He did close down a lot of schools and replace them with smaller schools, which might make them ripe for the privatization picking, but it has not happened as yet.
    Keep your fingers crossed.
    Brian Ford, NYC Teacher since 1995

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