Mr Gove then turned to the president of the union, a student, and told him: “Putting you in charge of the Cambridge Union was rather like putting Slobodan Milosevic in Serbian high command in charge of a rape crisis centre.”
One of the debates, in 1987, took place while Mr Gove was still a student himself at the University of Oxford. The other two happened in 1993, by which time he had begun a career in journalism.
In a debate entitled “This House prefers a woman on top”, Mr Gove made a series of sexual jokes about Lucy Frazer, then a student and now the minister for prisons.
He said Ms Frazer had done “remarkably well” to come from “the back streets of the slums of Leeds”. There is no suggestion Mr Gove and Ms Frazer were romantically involved at the time.
In another debate, he appeared to support a conspiracy theory that Sir Leon Brittan was a paedophile. The same lie was later peddled by Carl Beech, a fantasist who was later imprisoned for 18 years for perverting the course of justice and fraud.
The Liberal Democrats called for Mr Gove to be sacked over the comments.
His spokesman declined to comment.