The mother of Education Secretary Michael Gove has vowed to give her son a clip around the ear after he admitted misbehaving during his schooldays.
Christine Gove, 73, said she had no idea about Michael’s mischievous antics in the classroom and branded him “a monkey”.
In a recent open letter, Gove said he cringes when he remembers his 15-year-old self sitting at the back of the room asking “clever-dick questions” and indulging in “pathetic showing off”.
Speaking yesterday (weds), Christine, who still lives in Aberdeen with husband Ernest, 76, said: “If I could see Michael now I’d give him a clip round the lug.
“He would have been strung up if I had known he was being so cheeky.
“At the time he never said anything about his attitude and when I heard about it on the radio, I thought ‘what a monkey’.
“He would sometimes get a bit riled at that age, but I never thought he was a problem like that at school.
“I can never get in touch with him these days – it just goes through to his answering machine – but when I do eventually speak to him, I’ll give him a good telling off.”
In a letter published in the Radio Times, Michael apologised for his behaviour towards Danny Montgomery, who taught him French at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen.
Michael said: “It may be too late to say I’m sorry. Thirty years is too late.
“But since apologies from politicians are considered as rare as away wins for Queens Park Rangers, I hope you will accept mine.
“Because when I look back at the 15-year-old I was, lurking at the back of your French class at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, I cringe.
“You were trying, patiently, doggedly, good humouredly, to broaden our horizons. And all we could do was compete to think of clever-dick questions to embarrass you and indulge in pathetic showing-off at your expense.”
Mr Montgomery said he was glad Michael managed to overcome his problems and praised him for his rise to the top of politics.
He said: “Michael is one of a number of former Robert Gordon’s College pupils who have flourished in later life.
“I think of those who overcame all kinds of problems and those who did not necessarily make the most of book learning during their time at school but have since made their mark in a fascinating range of fields including Politics, Business, the Armed Forces and Sport.
“Even in those days, Michael stood out. I remember the words of one of my colleagues at the time: ‘That boy is a future leader of the Conservative Party’.
“This raised a few eyebrows in the staffroom but also more than a few nods of agreement from one or two of my more experienced colleagues.
“He was already known for his sharp wit, strongly held beliefs backed by apparently limitless general knowledge and keen debating skills, which resulted in the downfall of many opponents.
“It’s often hard to know how much is genuinely being communicated in a classroom, so it was highly gratifying to learn that Michael not only remembers the content of my lessons but also appreciates the wider learning that I was aiming to encourage.”