1) Maria Miller: Osborne and Crosby forced her out

timesmaria“David Cameron was forced to sacrifice Maria Miller after the revolt over the handling of her expenses controversy spread to his inner circle. George Osborne, the chancellor, and Lynton Crosby, his election supremo, made clear their anger at the damage being done to the Conservatives by the prime minister’s staunch defence of his culture secretary, sealing Mrs Miller’s fate.” – The Times(£)

  • “Mr Cameron had stubbornly stood by her for almost a week, but those close to the Chancellor were livid when a triumphant prediction from the International Monetary Fund that the UK will grow faster than any other major economy this year was overshadowed by the bitter row. The Prime Minister was forced to admit he had underestimated the depth of ‘raw’ public anger as he finally accepted the resignation of a tearful Culture Secretary.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:ToryDiary: Miller was right to resign


2) Maria Miller: Saga overshadows campaign launch

“David Cameron will launch the Conservatives’ European election campaign on Thursday hoping that the painful resignation of the culture secretary, Maria Miller, and the revived stench of sleaze, will not see his party driven into third place in the May poll, prompting a wider panic among Tory MPs in crucial marginal seats.” – The Guardian

  • “David Cameron will today kick-start 13 MONTHS of campaigning by launching the Tories’ battle plan for the European Elections in May 2015. The PM will speak to party members in the north-west as he draws a line under the Maria Miller scandal. Addressing Tory backbenchers in Westminster ahead of the launch, he said it was time to focus on “four big battles”. These are the European, local elections this Spring, the Scottish referendum in September and the General Election in May 2015.” – The Sun(£)

3) Maria Miller: Cameron defends Parliament

Cameron in PMQs on 16th October 2013“David Cameron has defended the reputation of Parliament after Maria Miller’s resignation, saying it is full of “good and honest” MPs. The prime minister said expenses rules had been improved since 2010, although more could be done to put Parliament’s integrity “beyond doubt”.” – BBC

  • “Mrs Miller’s ‘resignation’ at 7.30am made life awkward for Ed Miliband, robbing him of attack lines. Miliboob bogged it big-time. As is now the custom, he, too, was cheered by the Tories when he rose to the despatch box. ‘The events of the last week have caused deep concern and anger,’ said Mr Miliband. ‘What lessons has the Prime Minister learned from his handling of the situation?’ Mr Cameron: ‘The biggest lesson I have learned is that public anger is still very raw.’ Mr Miliband: ‘He had  no answer!’ ” – Quentin Letts Daily Mail
  • Labour’s response is an embarrassing incoherent shambles – Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch – Cameron defends the honour of the Honest Parliament

4) Maria Miller: She will donate her pay-off to charity

“Disgraced expenses row MP Maria Miller has vowed to donate a £17,000 pay-off for quitting her Cabinet post to charity. As pressure over the controversial “parachute payment” grew, advisers to the former Culture Secretary said the lump sum would go to Speakeasy Advocacy a learning disability charity in her Basingstoke seat.” – The Sun(£)

5)Maria Miller: Fabricant axed as Party Vice Chairman after tweets

Fabricant Moustache“Maverick Tory MP Michael Fabricant was sacked as the party’s vice-chairman last night over his ‘uncontrollable’ behaviour on Twitter – including jokes about having an affair with a llama and criticism of senior ministers. Mr Fabricant, one of Parliament’s most colourful MPs, has built up a cult following on the social media site with his edgy comments and lewd jokes. But his outpourings have caused alarm at Tory high command in recent months.” – Daily Mail

6) Maria Miller: Cameron’s reputation “damaged”

“An overwhelming 63% of voters say his failed stand “showed poor judgement”, as he should have ditched her immediately. The grim findings for bruised Mr Cameron capped his most miserable day in months….The poll also revealed a massive 83% think Mrs Miller was right to go. Alarmingly for all Westminster party leaders, 69% also say they have no confidence in the expenses system. An additional 62% still think most MPs are liars who try to claim as much as they can get away with.” – The Sun(£)

  • “Confronted with last week’s events, he needed only to ask himself a simple question: what is the right thing to do? Had he done that, he would have got rid of his Culture Secretary on the spot. By now the episode, and indeed Mrs Miller herself, would have been forgotten. But he appears to have asked a completely different question, typical of the modern school of clever-dick politicians: can we get away with it?” – Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s poll lead down one to three per cent – YouGov

The rise and rise of  Sajid Javid

JAVID Sajid BBC“The son of an immigrant  Pakistani who came to Britain in 1961 with just £1 in his pocket, Javid could not be further removed from the privileged lifestyles of David Cameron’s inner circle. Javid, now 44, was born in Rochdale, the middle child of five sons. At the time, his father Abdul was working as a bus driver. Indeed, his father’s  willingness to work all hours earned him the nickname ‘Mr Night And Day’.” – Daily Mail

  • “If he can survive the trial by trivia that faces every Culture Minister — What was the last play you saw? Who is your favourite contemporary British artist? Which team holds the FA Cup? — he is likely to use his new portfolio to uphold press freedom, protect commercial media organisations from BBC expansionism and champion private investment in the arts.” – Tim Montgomerie The Times(£)
  • “Labour predictably attack David Cameron for giving Maria Miller’s job to a bloke. Yet more evidence, they say with some justification, of his failure to promote women. But it is more significant who the man is. Sajid Javid is the first male Asian in a Tory Cabinet. A self-made millionaire who’s a bus driver’s son from one of Britain’s roughest streets and went to a state school.” – The Sun Says
  • “Crucially, with Javid, the message and the messenger are very different to anything we have heard and seen from the Tories in decades. With the right platform, and a bit of luck, he could have a transformative effect on the UK political landscape. Many a rising star will find themselves described as future prime ministers, merely to fade into pathetic obscurity. I doubt that this will be true of Sajid Javid.” – Allister Heath City AM

>Yesterday: MPsETC:Reshuffle: Sajid Javid is promoted to Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport

The redemption of Andrea Leadsom

“After two years in the doghouse for declaring that George Osborne should apologise to Ed Balls for suggesting that he was involved in the Libor scandal, she has finally been redeemed and takes up a seat in the Treasury as economic secretary.” – The Times(£)

Nicky Morgan is the new Minister for Women

nickymorgan“Nicky Morgan, the new Minister for Women and Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has only been an MP for less than four years. However, the former corporate lawyercorporate lawyer rapidly caught David Cameron’s eye and he rapidly appointed her as a ministerial aide and then to the whips’ office. She was promoted in October as Economic Secretary to the Treasury with responsibility for child care policies.” – The Independent

  • “Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, said that Ms Morgan’s appointment sent “the wrong signal,” while critics dubbed her the “minister for straight women”.” – The Times(£)
  • Good God, do we still have a Minister for Women? What is this, the 1950s? – Martha Gill Daily Telegraph

Labour would make exploiting migrant Labour a criminal offence

“Labour has said it will make the serious exploitation of migrant workers a criminal offence if it gains power. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper will say the existing offence of forced labour should be revised so more offenders are caught and prosecuted. Minimum jail sentences for employers hiring illegal workers on a large scale is one option that will be considered.” – Daily Telegraph

Lib Dems revise Mansion Tax proposals

CABLE Dr Evil“The Liberal Democrats originally proposed a one per cent annual surcharge on a property’s value above £2 million, meaning the owner of a £3 million house would pay £10,000 a year. On Wednesday the Lib Dems rebranded the measures as a “high-value property levy”. Under the new scheme, houses worth more than £2 million will be taxed under bands which could be as wide as £5  million, reducing the scope for appeals.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “There are now 82,269 homes that are valued at £2 million and more, according to the property website Zoopla. Two thirds of those are in just three wealthy London boroughs — Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden — suggesting that the levy will effectively become a tax on rich neighbourhoods in the capital. Vince Cable, the business secretary and architect of the policy, has said that the tax would raise at least £1.7 billion for the Exchequer. However, the new analysis found that it was in line to raise just £1.2 billion.” – The Times(£)

Gove: Schools that push Green propaganda are breaking the law

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Headteachers who brainwash children with green propaganda are breaking the law, Michael Gove has suggested. The Education Secretary has read ‘with concern’ a report which accused ‘activist’ teaching staff of trying to turn pupils into ‘foot soldiers of the green movement’. It found the marks children were awarded in exams depended on ‘parroting’ the green agenda. And many widely-used textbooks included inaccurate examples.” – Daily Mail

Cameron’s Christian strength

“Prime Minister David Cameron, whose day yesterday began with the resignation of Culture Secretary Maria Miller, finished it with his eyes shut, leaning against a pillar in his London residence as a soprano sang for his Easter reception. He had no comment on her choice of hymn: “Ave Maria.” “The Bible tells us to bear one another’s burdens,” Cameron told his audience of Christian leaders and politicians at 10 Downing Street when she’d finished. “After the day I’ve had, I’m definitely looking for volunteers.” – Bloomberg

News in brief

  • House prices to keep rising – Daily Mail
  • Alex Salmond’s five-star taxpayer funded hotel suite – Daily Telegraph
  • Len McCluskey “may quit” over vote-rigging investigation – The Sun(£)
  • Lord Myners quits Co-op – City AM
  • £600 million “wasted” on flu pills – The Independent
  • BBC “complacent” over IT failure – BBC
  • Gerry Adams criticises Lord Tebbit – Daily Express

And finally…Boris the Busker

BORIS open mouth“Would you give this busker 20p? Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, showed off his musical skills — or lack of them — with an impromptu performance on an acoustic Gibson guitar at St Pancras Station before meeting winners of a busking competition. Boris used to hero worship Keith Richards in his youth and, aged 16, tried to emulate the Rolling Stone by buying a pair of tight purple cords and playing (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction on a borrowed guitar.” – Sebastian Shakespeare  Daily Mail