- 17 Mar 08, 03:13 PM
BBC colleagues who accidentally overheard David Cameron last Friday evening, while rehearsing his speech to the Conservatives’ (so-called) Spring Forum in Gateshead, were struck by the important role which the Shadow Education Secretary – and regular Newsnight Review panellist – Michael Gove played in the proceedings.
“He was really cracking the whip,” I’m told, in advising Cameron very forcefully on using softer language. Gove advised him, for instance, to refer to “mothers and fathers” rather than “parents”, and how it was best to avoid an old-fashioned phrase like “creeds and colours”.
Michael Gove has long been identified as a rising star on the Conservative front bench, a moderniser and close ally of Cameron, but my colleagues were surprised at how much the Tory leader was happy to defer to his education spokesman. Until now it had been thought that Steve Hilton was Cameron’s chief modernisation guru. Although Hilton was among those listening to David Cameron's rehearsal, he said very little in comparison with Gove.