Maria Miller scandal moves on to tax-free sale allegations

MILLER Maria white Marr‘Maria Miller stopped claiming expenses on her “second” home after being asked to sign a declaration confirming that she would pay tax when it was sold, documents show. The Culture Secretary redesignated the London house as her main home with parliamentary authorities after changes to the rules meant that MPs could no longer escape tax on the sale of second homes.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Lord Tebbit calls for Miller’s resignation – The Times (£)
  • Iain Duncan Smith claims it’s a “witch hunt” – FT
  • The £1.2 million house she bought with second home proceeds – Daily Mail
  • MPs resist pressure to remove their power to judge each other – The Independent
  • What happened to proper apologies? – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail



IDS: We’ve achieved much, but the job is not yet done on welfare reform

IDS headshot‘The tightening of the welfare system, as well as the Government’s pro-business measures, have helped give businesses the freedom and confidence to create 1.7 million new jobs since the election. Mr Duncan Smith, speaking to the Business for Britain campaign group, will point to record employment – more than half a million higher than its pre-recession peak – and the falling numbers of people absent from the labour market, falling long-term unemployment, and falling number of workless households. He will warn that the job is far from done, however, detailing new measures to take effect this month.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Mark Hoban MP on Comment: More jobs. More full-time jobs. More jobs for women & Britons. Employment is working.

Elderly NHS patients suffer in silence

‘Tens of thousands of elderly patients are enduring appalling NHS care because they are too frightened – or too polite – to complain. They suffer in silence fearing even worse treatment if they dare to raise criticism, England’s health watchdog Dame Julie Mellor warned.’ – Daily Mail

New calls for military spending to count towards aid target

Army‘Senior ministers are backing plans to overhaul the rules governing what can count as aid spending, arguing that Ministry of Defence spending on things such as police training in Afghanistan and support to stabilise Libya should be included…Tobias Ellwood MP, the Prime Minister’s envoy to Nato, has now drawn up detailed proposals for Downing Street suggesting that there is an overwhelming case for military spending to count toward the 0.7 per cent target – set to cost £12billion this year.’ – Daily Mail

  • Head of the Army calls for rethink about women on the front line – Daily Mail
  • Ukraine fears gas war – The Guardian

Peter Hain: Abandon attempts to solve over 3,000 Troubles murders

‘A de facto amnesty should be offered to terrorists who killed, bombed and maimed during Northern Ireland’s 30 years of violence, a former Northern Ireland Secretary said yesterday. Peter Hain’s radical proposal, which would end any prospect of prosecutions in 3,000 unsolved murders from the Troubles, comes on the eve of the first Irish state visit to Britain.’ – The Times (£)

Miliband’s ‘middle class crisis’ claims undermined by evidence

MILIBAND Ed red background‘Four out of five middle-class families are at least as wealthy as they were before the recession, according to an analysis of household income that deals a blow to Labour’s campaign on the cost of living. About a fifth of families deemed middle-income in 2008 fell down the income scale as a result of the recession, but two fifths stayed where they were. The remaining two fifths of households with net income of between £26,100 and £41,200 before the downturn have since climbed into the higher brackets.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Mel Stride MP on Comment: Labour’s cost of living problem

Cameron to announce crackdown on betting machines

‘Downing Street is poised to announce a crackdown on high-speed, high-stakes gambling machines, with fresh penalties for bookmakers if they fail to enforce new limits on playing times and betting losses, the Guardian has learned.’ – The Guardian

236 Tory councillors owe council tax arrears

money‘Hundreds of councillors are being chased for not paying their council tax, a Sun probe reveals. They owe hundreds of thousands to their own authorities. In total, 676 councillors built up arrears, including 236 Conservatives, 221 Labour and 62 Lib Dems — with 71 taken to court.’ – The Sun (£)

>Today: Peter Franklin on Comment: How has the Coalition performed on the environment and local government? Four marks out of ten

Police Federation set to reject reform plan

‘The police union is about to reject demands for “top to bottom” reforms, despite a scathing report which found that it was over-politicised, riven by distrust and in-fighting and hoarding secret money. The most powerful branch of the Police Federation, representing the Metropolitan Police, has signalled that it is opposed to or concerned with more than half of the 36 recommendations made by an independent panel after the “Plebgate” affair.’ – The Times (£)

  • Force it to reform if it won’t willingly do so – The Times Leader (£)
  • Senior Scottish officers aren’t qualified for anti-terror work – The Scotsman

Pickles: This is a Christian country – get over it

Church shield‘Militant atheists need to “get over it” and accept that Britain is a Christian country, according to Eric Pickles. The Communities Secretary, who changed the law two years ago to ensure that English parish councils could not face legal challenges for including prayers in public meetings, accused non-believers of imposing politically correct intolerance.’ – The Times (£)

Emma Duncan: Death to the BBC licence fee

‘I do not doubt that the BBC is stuffed full of talented people who could produce outstanding television, but they would be more likely to do so if they were unshackled from the head of values and the director of strategic governance. Free the BBC: kill the licence fee.’ – Emma Duncan, The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Search ship detects signals consistent with a black box in Indian Ocean – Daily Mail
  • Shrien Dewani to be extradited to South Africa – The Guardian
  • Green criticism of HS2 – The Sun (£)
  • Mickey Rooney has died at the age of 93 – The Sun (£)
  • Posh people hire voice coaches to sound more regional – The Times (£)
  • 20 years on, Rwanda offers the world hope – Tony Blair, The Guardian
  • Why is there still no Thatcher statue in Grantham? – Harry Mount, Daily Mail