Michael Gove and Sarah Vine announce separation

Senior Government minister Michael Gove and his journalist wife Sarah Vine are to split after almost twenty years of marriage, a joint spokesman for the couple said.

The high-profile couple married in October 2001 but have decided to end their relationship and are “in the process of finalising their divorce”.

Their spokesman told the PA news agency: “Michael and Sarah have agreed to separate and they are in the process of finalising their divorce.

“They will continue to support their two children and they remain close friends.

“The family politely ask for privacy at this time and will not be providing any further comment.”

Ms Vine, a columnist for the Daily Mail, wrote last week, in a piece about former health secretary Matt Hancock’s resignation, about how Westminster life can drive a wedge between partners.

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Michael Gove

A friend of the couple insisted the Gove-Vine split was “entirely amicable”, and that no third party was involved.

The friend told PA: “This is a difficult and sad decision for Michael and Sarah after 20 years of marriage.

“It is an entirely amicable separation and there is no-one else involved.

“They have drifted apart over the past couple of years but they remain friends.

“Their absolute priority is the children.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Mr Gove and Ms Vine, a former Times arts editor, first met in 1999 and married two years later.

The family are seen as well connected in the Conservative Party, with Ms Vine a godmother to one of former prime minister David Cameron’s daughters.

Samantha Cameron and Ms Vine are reported to have later fallen out over Mr Gove’s decision to campaign for Leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum, with the result leading to Mr Cameron’s resignation from Downing Street.

David Cameron and Michael Gove are understood to have fallen out as a result of Mr Gove's decision to campaign for LeaveDavid Cameron and Michael Gove are understood to have fallen out as a result of Mr Gove’s decision to campaign for Leave (Paul Rogers/The Times/PA Archive)

Ms Vine has previously used her Sunday newspaper columns to touch on political issues.

In a column published this week, Ms Vine wrote about how Westminster “changes a person”, referencing the split between Mr Hancock and his wife Martha following his affair with aide Gina Coladangelo, along with ex-chancellor George Osbourne’s marriage break-up.

She wrote: “These women are still more or less the same person they were when they got married. But their politician men are not.

“Climbing that far up Westminster’s greasy pole changes a person. And when someone changes, they require something new from a partner.

“Namely, someone who is as much a courtesan as a companion, one who understands their brilliance and, crucially, is personally invested in it.

“The problem with the wife who has known you since way before you were king of the world is that she sees through your facade.”

The couple have said they will not be commenting further at this time.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992