Gove entered the Commons in 2005. He was quickly made shadow housing minister and was promoted to the shadow cabinet in July 2007. Before becoming an MP, Gove was a prominent journalist on The Times.
What is his background?
Gove's father ran a fish-processing business and his mother was a lab assistant at Aberdeen University. He was educated in the state and independent sectors before heading to Oxford University, where he joined the Conservative Party and also served as President of the Oxford Union.
Where does he sit politically?
Gove is seen as part of the influential 'Notting Hill' set of Tories, which also includes David Cameron, George Osborne, Ed Vaizey and Nick Boles. They are seen as modernisers in social issues and humanitarian interventionists in foreign policy. Before becoming a candidate, Gove demonstrated his socially liberal credentials when he wrote that 'Section 28 is a nonsense'.
Why he is a man to watch
Gove is considered as one of the brightest members of the shadow cabinet. Along with Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton, he is a key member of Cameron's backroom staff and a useful policy sounding board.
Something you might not know
Gove played the school chaplain in the 1995 film A Feast at Midnight.