Miller 1): Poll says the public want her sacked

Snip20140406_1“Culture Secretary Maria Miller should be thrown out of the Cabinet and be forced to give up her Commons seat as punishment for making false expenses claims, according to a Mail on Sunday poll. Voters also want the embattled Minister to be stripped of her role in charge of introducing new press curbs following Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into media ethics. The damning findings come from the first survey conducted since Mrs Miller was forced to pay back £5,800 over-claimed on her mortgage and apologise to the Commons on Thursday” – Mail on Sunday

Miller 2): Minister says she must go

“Pressure for Maria Miller to quit intensified on Saturday night after a senior minister said her behaviour was ‘incompatible’ with that of a member of the Cabinet…The senior minister, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Telegraph: ‘In my view she has clearly behaved in a way that is incompatible with what she should be doing as a Cabinet minister. The decision to keep her on undermines the Prime Minister because he has talked about a new kind of politics’” – Sunday Telegraph

Miller 3): Tory MPs condemn her lack of contrition

MILLER Maria white Marr“Senior members of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, who have the ear of the prime minister, said they expected Miller to be removed from her post to end a barrage of criticism from Conservative-supporting newspapers in the run up to next year’s general election. One MP high in the hierarchy said of Miller: ‘I think it was very unwise to give the short, perfunctory apology she did. I suspect she may be sacked, demoted or moved in June’”

Miller 4): Kennedy calls on MPs to give up powers

“The watchdog in charge of parliamentary expenses has declared war on MPs, saying they can no longer be trusted to police their own affairs. In an explosive intervention in the row over culture secretary Maria Miller’s claims, Sir Ian Kennedy called for the Commons to ‘give away powers in regulating itself’. He claimed that ‘MPs marking their own homework always ends in scandal’” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Sir Alistair Graham calls for reform of Commons Standards Committee – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Tory Diary – Ten points on Maria Miller

D’Ancona: The Tories will offer reassurance, not revolution, in 2015

lynton-crosby“Lynton Crosby, the PM’s campaign director, is insisting that senior Tories stick remorselessly and religiously to a principal electoral theme. What you will hear between now and May 7 2015 – until you can bear it no longer, until your innards turn at its very mention – is a single message: that only the Conservatives can deliver ‘security, stability and peace of mind’…What Crosby calculates is that, after a long and painful recession, voters are seeking reassurance rather than revolution” – Matthew D’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph

Benefit cheats face higher fines and losing their homes

“Welfare cheats will be forced to sell their homes and pay higher fines to reimburse taxpayers for the money they have wrongly claimed, under plans to tackle benefit fraud. Hundreds of thousands of pensioners who fail to declare their full earnings from private pension schemes will also be targeted as fraud investigators trawl through HM Revenue & Customs records. The plans form part of a major campaign from ministers this week to publicise reforms to the welfare system” – Sunday Telegraph

Charles Moore interviewed about Margaret Thatcher

charlesmoore“What can it be like being Charles Moore? Since 1997 he has been trying to get inside the head of Margaret Thatcher, understand her personality, fathom why she was so loved, so hated. That was the year she appointed him as her authorised biographer, and gave him unlimited access to everyone and everything in her life, on condition that he wouldn’t publish until after her death. So that’s a good 17 years of Thinking About Thatcher” – Nigel Farndale, Observer

Make HS2 trains go slower, say MPs

“The Government’s controversial High Speed 2 rail link will be dealt a huge blow tomorrow as MPs demand that the top speed for trains on the line should be slashed by 40mph. The proposal is just one of a damaging series of criticisms of the £50 billion HS2 project contained in a leaked parliamentary report seen by The Mail on Sunday. The slower speed would add ten minutes to the predicted journey time from London to Birmingham, making it only 25 minutes quicker than current trains” – Mail on Sunday

Gove: entrepreneurs flock to London for “hot sex”

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Michael Gove shocked a Cabinet summit with the woman in charge of attracting more internet tycoons to London, by claiming they are flocking to the capital to have ‘hot sex’. He said the city was attracting young businessmen and women from all over the world because they believed there were ‘more opportunities for success and sex’. The Education Secretary’s boast shocked former Facebook and Google executive Joanna Shields, 51, the £140,000-a-year boss of David Cameron’s Tech City task force” – Mail on Sunday

  • Gove’s bid to limit fallout from failing free schools – Observer

Daley: Westminster is living in a state of clinical delusion

“The one thing that has emerged with startling clarity, to a degree that is almost beyond argument, is that what I (and now Nigel Farage, bless him) have described as the present political class – meaning the incestuous, self-referring universe of Westminster professionals – is living in a state of clinical delusion. There were actually – and I can scarcely believe this as I write it – still some pundits claiming that Nick Clegg had won the second debate, in which Mr Farage had so comprehensively wiped the floor with him” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

  • Poll shows Farage might win if he stands for Parliament in Folkestone – Mail on Sunday
  • UKIP members accused of “drunken fracas” at Reform Club – Mail on Sunday

Davis: Exit from Europe is nothing to fear

EU Exit“Far from spelling the end of Britain’s international influence, EU exit could be the catalyst for an intellectual, economic and political liberation. It would give Britain the chance to forge new relationships, pursue a new strategy reflecting our historical connections and global standing, and exploit our language, law, scientific, cultural and commercial creativity, and even our time zone…We need courage and confidence to deliver a low tax, low regulation, high growth economy” – Mail on Sunday

Forsyth: Lib Dems forced to accept Cameron’s EU strategy

“Cameron’s commitment to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU used to be seen as one of the major obstacles to a second coalition between the Tories and the Lib Dems…But talking to those close to Clegg in recent days, it has become clear that Cameron’s pledge to renegotiate is no longer an obstacle to a second coalition between the two parties. When I asked one Clegg confidant if the Lib Dems could go along with Cameron’s plan, I was told: ‘It is not us David Cameron is going to have a problem with but the Tories’” – Mail on Sunday

Littlewood: Clegg could go after Euro elections

“Clegg’s strategy means he is now likely to be held more personally responsible for his party’s performance in the European elections on May 22…A wipeout might test Lib Dems’ patience with their leader to the limit…The truth is that in his confrontations with Farage, he failed” – Mark Littlewood, Mail on Sunday

  • Clegg, not Farage, is scaremongering on the EU – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Blair “knew all about CIA secret kidnap programme”

“Tony Blair knew in detail about the CIA’s secret kidnap and interrogation programme after the September 11 attacks and was kept informed ‘every step of the way’ by MI6, a security source has told The Telegraph. Mr Blair, the then prime minister, and Jack Straw, his foreign secretary, were fully briefed on CIA activities and were shown now infamous Bush administration legal opinions that declared ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques such as waterboarding and stress positions to be legal, the source said” – Sunday Telegraph

Harman says Alexander “just isn’t engaged”

“The feuding in Labour’s high command intensified last night after Harriet Harman and Ed Balls were caught plotting against Ed Miliband’s embattled elections chief. Party deputy Ms Harman and the Shadow Chancellor discussed criticism of Douglas Alexander in a close huddle outside Mr Balls’s Commons office on Wednesday. According to a reliable eyewitness, Ms Harman said to Mr Balls: ‘The trouble with Douglas is that he just isn’t engaged at the moment.’ Mr Balls reportedly nodded in reply” – Mail on Sunday

Scottish independence: poll gap narrows

Scottish flag“Support for Scottish independence has hit a record high with the yes and no campaigns almost neck and neck five months from the referendum, according to a new poll. With the cross-party no campaign under pressure to sharpen up after a series of gaffes, the Panelbase results show the unionist lead among voters has been cut from more than 24 points last year to six points this weekend. The poll for the pro-independence political website Wings Over Scotland finds that when the 14% of voters who are undecided are excluded, 47% intend to vote yes and 53% no” – Sunday Times (£)

News in brief