Michael Gove has been appointed the new Minister for Justice following the Conservative Party’s surprise election win last week.
He replaces Chris Grayling in the job, who becomes Leader of the House of Commons.
Like Grayling, Gove has no formal legal training. He studied English at Oxford, where he was also president of the Union. He was a journalist before entering Parliament in 2005 as the MP for Surrey Heath, Working for the BBC, Channel 4 and in various editorial positions at The Times.
During this stint as a columnist, he wrote an article calling for the return of hanging. The 1998 piece said: “Hanging may seem barbarous, but the greater barbarity lies in the slow abandonment of our common law traditions.
“Were I ever alone in the dock I would not want to be arraigned before our flawed tribunals, knowing my freedom could be forfeit as a result of political pressures. I would prefer a fair trial, under the shadow of the noose.”
When the Conservatives entered coalition in 2010, Gove was made Secretary of State for Education, where he clashed with teachers over exam and curriculum reforms. He served in this role for four years before becoming Chief Whip in 2014.
In his new role as justice secretary he is expected to be tasked with implementing the Conservative’s manifesto pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act, and to implement further legal aid cuts.