The arts proved a thorn in Michael Gove’s side throughout his four-year tenure as Education Secretary. Now, one acclaimed artist is taking protests a step further by running against him in the next general election.
Bob and Roberta Smith, the pseudonym of Patrick Brill who specialises in painted placards, is to run against Mr Gove in his Surrey Heath constituency.
Although Mr Gove left his post as Education Secretary, following a Cabinet reshuffle in July, to become the Tory’s chief whip, Brill said he is running against him as the “architect” of the policies that have marginalised arts in schools.
“He has become a fulcrum to say the arts are really important in this country,” he said. “It’s a chance to say a lot of positive things about the arts rather than just bashing politicians.”
One of the artist’s best known works is Letter To Michael Gove, a huge placard carrying a diatribe of almost 1,000 words.
However, he said his decision to run was sparked by recent comments made by Mr Gove’s ministerial successor, Nicky Morgan, over how students could be held back by studying arts subjects. Mr Brill said: “What she said has got everyone fired up again. I thought: ‘I’ve got to stand’.”
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