What did Sarah Vine say in her latest column about being an MP's wife?

Sarah Vine wrote a widely shared column in the wake of the Matt Hancock scandal, which led speculation about her own marriage to Michael Gove

Journalist Sarah Vine, who is married to Cabinet minister Michael Gove paid tribute to David and Samantha Cameron in a column written in the wake of the Matt Hancock scandal.

It has since been announced that Ms Vine and Mr Gove are to split after almost 20 years of marriage.

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

Sarah Vine and her husband Michael Gove (left) Matt Hancock (right) (Getty Images)
Sarah Vine and her husband Michael Gove (left) Matt Hancock (right) (Getty Images)

“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.”

What did Sarah Vine say in her column?

Ms Vine, along with Mr Gove, was counted among the Camerons’ closest allies until the Minister for the Cabinet Office backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

Comparing the role played by Samantha Cameron to that of the Duchess of Cambridge in her relationship with Prince William, Ms Vine said her “former friend” had acted as her husband’s “barometer, his weather vane, his anchor” while in office.

She added that Samantha “had strict ground rules – date nights, no-go areas in his diary, certain non-negotiable events.”

Writing the Mail on Sunday, Ms Vine said: "She made sure he cooked, took care of the children, did his fair share. She never allowed the job to consume him, and she certainly never allowed it to consume her.

“And when she had had enough of living in the fishbowl, they left. Yes, he resigned over Brexit but in truth the decision to leave No 10 had already been made. And it was, in large part, hers.”

The journalist also suggested that political marriages come under pressure because of the risk that every senior politician “starts to believe your own hype”.

Michael Gove was not mentioned in her wife’s article, which instead praised David Cameron's ability to prioritise family life whilst in office.

She said: “Despite [Mr Cameron’s] years in power, she – and their children – never just became background noise, also-rans in his busy, important life. In a way that was unique among all the senior politicians I have ever known, he was absolutely brilliant at carving out time for his family.”

The ‘aphrodisiac’ of power

Ms Vine also wrote: “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.

“She knows your fears and your insecurities. She knows that, deep down inside, you are not the Master of the Universe you purport to be.”

Vine also considered the “aphrodisiac” of power for politicians: “Westminster is a place of myriad distractions for the politician seeking refuge from his or her home life.

“And when you feel disconnected like that, and because power is such an aphrodisiac, it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see how you can go from being happily married to the kind of person who gets caught so unfortunately on CCTV.”