Maria Miller resigns

MILLER Maria white Marr‘The embattled Culture Secretary Maria Miller has resigned today in an attempt to limit fallout from an expenses scandal that was damaging the Conservative Party. In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Mrs Miller said the controversy over her expenses “has become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing”.’ – The Times (£)


How the pressure built up:

>Today: ToryDiary: Miller was right to resign


IMF: Britain is the fastest growing leading economy

growth flag‘Britain’s economy is set to grow faster than any other leading nation this year after the International Monetary Fund raised its forecasts for the fourth time in 12 months. In a clear reversal of last year, when the IMF attacked the Chancellor for pressing ahead with austerity, it predicted that the UK would outstrip the United States, Germany, France and Japan. If correct, it will be the first time since 2007 that the UK has grown faster than the US.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Graeme Leach and Harriet Maltby on Comment: How has the Coalition performed on the economy? Six marks out of ten

Martin McGuinness dines at Windsor Castle

‘Dressed in his evening  finery, Martin McGuinness arrived at Windsor last night for dinner with the Queen. But as his limousine swept through the castle gates, he was greeted by the grief-stricken face of the father of an Omagh bomb victim. Victor Barker spelt out exactly why he felt the former IRA chief had no place at the state banquet. His placard read: ‘A terrorist in a white tie and tails is still a terrorist – Martin McGuiness [sic] time to tell the truth.’’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Martin McGuinness toasts the Queen…as IRA victims call for his arrest

>Yesterday: Andrew Lloyd on Comment: Ireland should return to the Commonwealth

Lord Lawson: Leaving the EU would not cost a single job

EU Exit‘Mr Clegg may have been trounced [by Farage], and indeed humiliated, but his determination to strike fear in the minds of the public about the consequences of a British Exit – “Brexit” – was all too evident. In particular there was his absurd insistence that “three million jobs” depended on our membership of the EU, with the clear implication that they would disappear if we were to leave. This is complete nonsense.’ – Nigel Lawson, The Times (£)

  • British diplomat wins the IEA’s Brexit prize – FT
  • Why eurosceptics should vote Tory next month – Daniel Hannan MEP, Daily Telegraph
  • UKIP’s ‘new face’ won’t campaign for them over immigration – The Times (£)

Benefits rules for unemployed migrants toughened up

‘Tougher rules for jobless migrants claiming children’s benefits were unveiled by the government on Tuesday in a signal “that our welfare system is not open to abuse”, according to a Treasury minister. Would-be claimants from overseas will also have to prove their English skills to be entitled to receive cash.’ – FT

  • Welfare reform ‘exceedingly slow’ – FT

Davis: Allow married couples to transfer tax allowances

David Davis‘George Osborne should promise large-scale and  costly new tax breaks for married couples, a senior Tory said yesterday. The Chancellor should commit to a transferable tax allowance for married people worth the whole of their £10,500 income tax-free allowance, former Party chairman David Davis said.’ – Daily Mail

We’re the workers’ party, declare Tory MPs

‘Conservatives are the true party of the workers, MPs have declared today. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph MPs, including David Amess, Mark Prisk and former immigration minister Mark Harper, say that their party is the natural home of working people. It comes as ministers and MPs from working class backgrounds publish a series of essays explaining why the Conservative party attracted them.’ – Daily Telegraph

Clegg’s school meal fiasco rumbles on

CURSE OF CLEGG one‘Schools are resorting to having kitchen ‘pods’ dropped in by crane as the fiasco surrounding Nick Clegg’s free meals pledge deepens. More than 1,700 primaries have no cooking facilities, it emerged – as research revealed just how ill-equipped they are to meet the promise to four to seven-year-olds from September.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Is Jeremy Browne yellow or blue?

Scottish independence would land the rest of us with £143bn bill

‘An independent Scotland would “not have the resources” to pay its share of national debt and would leave the rest of the UK shouldering an extra burden of £143bn, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has said. In a hard-hitting report, the NIESR has warned that Scottish independence could push up the rest of the UK’s debt to GDP ratio by as much as 9pc. The extra burden is “likely to catch the attention of credit rating agencies,” the economic think tank has warned.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • And it would increase your energy bills – Daily Telegraph
  • The £8 billion cost of a new border in lost trade – Daily Mail

Serious crimes left unrecorded in attempt to hit police targets

Police‘Police are failing to properly record crimes as serious as rape to hit performance targets, a damning report has revealed. A target culture within policing has created ‘perverse incentives’ and driven officers up to the most senior level to ‘misrecord’ crime, MPs said.’ – Daily Mail

MOD fights to ban a book it commissioned

‘The Ministry of Defence has made a last-minute attempt to block the publication of a book it commissioned one of its officers to write about the lessons of the military campaign in Helmand. The study, which is highly critical of British and American naivety in the Afghanistan district, was due to be published today but officials intervened claiming a breach of the Official Secrets Act.’ – The Times (£)

US accuses Russia of stirring up unrest in Ukraine

Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 08.11.38‘The US has accused Russia of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, calling its efforts “illegal and illegitimate” and warning that Moscow was seeking to create a pretext for possible military action. “What we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilise a sovereign state,” John Kerry, the US secretary of state, told lawmakers in Washington.’ – FT

News in brief

  • How an animal rights busybody drove a family from their home – Daily Mail
  • Boom in Westminster champagne consumption – The Sun (£)
  • Stop tolerating intolerance abroad – Stephen Pollard, The Times (£)
  • Kim Jong Un has ‘enemy of the state’ executed by flamethrower – Daily Mail
  • Two more pings heard in the Indian Ocean – Daily Telegraph