Coffee House

Maria Miller: Who could replace her?

9 April 2014

Who are the ministers who could replace Maria Miller? Some of the muttering over the past few days has been about the Prime Minister’s desire to keep women in the Cabinet, and Miller herself boasted of being the only mother in the Cabinet.

[audioboo url=””]Maria Miller: Resigning is ‘the right thing to do’[/audioboo]

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There are many mothers, fathers, men and women in the Tory party who have bright careers ahead of them. If the PM feels he needs a woman, he could promote Nicky Morgan, currently shining at the Treasury. Or plain-speaking Esther McVey (if her comments on ITV’s The Agenda on Monday were a little too plainly-spoken, then they shouldn’t damage her career: I understand that she warned colleagues that if she was asked about it on the show, she’d have to be honest about what she thought of Maria Miller’s apology), who has risen steadily from being a PPS to Chris Grayling to Minister of State at the DWP. Similarly Liz Truss has proven that she’s a dab hand even in hostile environments by surviving bitter battles with the Lib Dems in the Education department.

He could also move up Priti Patel to a junior ministerial position: she was already tipped for a promotion from the Number 10 policy board – and as a eurosceptic on the right of the party would be a comforting promotion for that faction of MPs, too, though it is too much of a jump to promote her from the backbenches to the Cabinet.

If PM needs to replace a mother with a mother, he has nine Tory MPs already in government to choose from, according to Coffee House research. The mothers in government are Nicky Morgan, Helen Grant (unlikely to get a promotion after poor performance), Baroness Warsi (not tipped to rise, with a briefing campaign against her from some quarters), Liz Truss, Anna Soubry (fantastically ferocious on programmes such as Any Questions but possibly not ready for a promotion to Cabinet), whip and former public health minister Anne Milton, whip Amber Rudd, whip Claire Perry and whip Harriett Baldwin.

Of course, he could promote a man – or move a man already occupying a Cabinet job who doesn’t mind a move. It depends how essential the Prime Minister thinks it is to get another woman in Cabinet – depressingly for those who think that this sort of symbolism makes government look silly, it’s quite important in politics, partly because Labour likes to crow about Cameron’s ‘women problem’. Fortunately for him, he has many bright women in government to choose from.

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Show comments
  • Monkey_Bach

    David Cameron looks as if he needs some (surgical) support, so I would suggest Liz Truss be promoted to the cabinet for the last twelve months or so of the coalition government.

  • Mr Creosote

    Small correction..Anna Soubry was not “fantastically ferocious” on QT, she was in fact utterly useless and ill-informed, certainly on her last outing.

  • sarah_13

    I don’t know why Priti Patel is always mentioned she has never sounded that bright to me. Same for Anna Soubry, she seems to engage her mouth before her brain. Leadsom is good, and Truss as is Nicola Blackwood and Theresa Coffey and what about Sarah Wollaston?

  • swatnan

    Any single mothers or lesbians or bisexual or transgender amongst all that lot.
    No, I thought not. not all that representative of our dysfunctional society at all.

  • itdoesntaddup

    It’s not just about handing out grants to the Royal Opera. The ragbag department has media, sport and equalities to add to “culture”. Clearly it needs someone to sort out the mess left by Miller in media: the Leveson legacy, and the BBC. Sport should be handed to Education, where most sport takes place anyway. It would be nice to think that equalities would just be disbanded – but it will take legislation to undo the effects of the 2010 Act rushed through just before the election.

    At least Javid believes in promoting British culture, particularly among immigrants. That is a mission of itself. Perhaps it could be included in Home Office procedures before granting leave to remain.

  • Bluesman_1

    I have a potted plant available. Cheap too.

  • Robert_Eve

    Please NOT Claire Perry.


  • Frank

    Who could replace her? Virtually anyone with a pulse! She did not set a high bar.
    I am still waiting to hear how the Police are going to respond to the Labour MP’ s letter asking them to investigate her expense claims and justifications for these claims.
    More importantly, why not take the chance to bin this Ministry?
    Having read the list of women waiting for promotion, only one thought occurs to me: that the Tories very badly need to widen their pool of female talent (I am sure the same is true of Labour and the Lib-Dems, so this is not political point scoring.).

  • HD2

    There is not – nor has there ever been – any purpose in a ‘Minister for Culture’ and all the Whitehall staffers that are employed there (at OUR expense).
    Close it down.

  • Darnell Jackson

    Already you are speculating who may be promoted and why, for any reason bar the correct one.

    From all the talent available, who is best suited to this position?

    • Peter Neal

      I think the answer is clear: Ed Vaisey. A solid minister for the Arts with the right background to be able to fight for this portfolio.

      • Colin56

        We don’t want someone to ‘fight for this portfolio’: that’s straight out of a ‘Yes minister’ script. We want someone who will fight for the poor benighted taxpayer. Fat chance.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Culture and Arts – the minister has gone, now let’s simply do away with the ministry.

    • MaxSceptic


      Make savings.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Too late. Sajid Javid has been appointed.

      • WatTylersGhost

        Yes, but he is brave enough to shut it down.

  • Colin56

    How about ‘doing the right thing’ as our beloved Dave is so fond of saying, and abolishing DCMS altogether? It’s ‘work’ such as it is could be moved to a ten-person unit within Education, with Wee Mikey Gove bringing some much needed rigour. A Cabinet salary saved, thousands of civil servants not needed any more (hurrah!), everyone’s a winner. Except the client Luvvies of course.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The Luvvies are never happy anyway. They are all Borg supporters and the multi-millionaires are constantly whining about funding cuts.

      • Colin56

        So – cut them off from the taxpayer-funded teat then. Let the Permanent Secretaries pay full price for their Covent Garden boxes. Stop the endless flow of cash to useless Northern arts centres which close within a couple of years. And why do I have to pay for you to borrow thrillers from your local library when they are available for buttons on Amazon? No, DCMS has no useful purpose and should be abolished forthwith. However, as you and I well know, the chances of Dave ‘doing the right thing’ for once in his miserable life are absolutely zero.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “And why do I have to pay for you to borrow thrillers from your local library when they are available for buttons on Amazon?”

          Er, you don’t. I don’t borrow thrillers from my local library. I avoid the place like the plague now that it is like a combo noisy creche and right-on drop-in centre. Sssh! 😉

          • Colin56

            Glad to hear it. Why do I have to pay for others to do so though?

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Let us hope he can salvage something from the complete shambles he has made of this so far.

  • Wessex Man

    Can we have someone who is competent, honest, and sane?

    • Colin56

      ‘Competent, honest and sane’ – from the closed shop field of candidates in the House of Commons? Dream on …
      Dave can get round this one and win some points by closing DCMS and redistributing its functions. That would be the ‘right thing to do’ as he constantly reminds us. fat chance then.

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