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Tory MPs turn on Maria Miller – and Dave

7 April 2014

Maria Miller is losing friends, fast. Furious briefing over the last 24 hours has seen a host of Tory MPs withdraw their support for the embattled Culture Secretary – and question the judgment of the Prime Minister.

One ‘senior minister, speaking on condition of anonymity’, twisted the knife in 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.’

That outburst was followed by another Tory MP, who told the Evening Standard:

‘It’s ghastly, it’s just making us look all the same. It is setting back the reputation of parliament and MPs.’ He said he had ‘nothing positive’ to say about Mrs Miller. Adding: ‘There’s a very strong feeling that MPs should still have their own system of regulation. There is a view that David Cameron has been pretty tough in the past on transgressors and that if she was not a women he would be tough on her.

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Another Tory MP says that the episode is ‘playing to the Ukip agenda about the political class closing ranks, looking after its own.’ Meanwhile, Tory Nicola Blackwood told BBC Oxford: ‘Clearly it’s very unhelpful for this to drag on in the way that it is’.

One MP told Mr S over the weekend that he felt ‘fury’: and not just at Miller but the Prime Minister too:

‘New MPs now being tainted by hangover from previous regime. She should have gone. None of us claimed for foliage clearance in Oxfordshire’.

Mr S has found just one MP who defends Miller, but only against the actions of the press, and, even then, the comment was made on condition of anonymity:

The Tea Room was mostly full of support because there is a view that the PM should choose Cabinet not some elements of the press who want to continue to regulate themselves.’

There is no love between the Telegraph and MPs over expenses and press regulation, but their sideshow shouldn’t distract from the central drama of the vanishing support for Miller – and its possible consequences. Andrew Mitchell will testify to the fact it is easier for the press to get their scalp when the target is forsaken by his or her colleagues.

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Show comments
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  • Terence Hale

    Mr. Cameron clarify things: I must follow her, I am her leader.

  • clau7n

    …and question the judgment of the Prime Minister.
    About time!

  • SilentHunter

    I wonder if anyone else has spotted the irony of this woman’s face appearing above the slogan . . . “For hardworking people”.

  • ramesesthegrumbler

    Funny how this story was straight to the headlines on the BBC, almost before it broke anywhere else, but Harmboy’s PIE affiliations were ignored for days.
    When are we going to get an investigation into Labours wrong doings in the NHS or does the press now need to wait until prodded by the Labour Smears Unit?

  • Bilious Oesophagus

    Just hope the next Labour gov,(if there is one),doesn’t decide to murder half a million people again…

  • Bilious Oesophagus

    And so the Tories disappear under an avalanche of sleaze and infighting.Just like last time.And the time before.until the next generation of morons comes along.

  • rjbh

    Try nicking 40 grand from the tax payer

  • Alb Einstein

    The fact that the Prime Minister could back her when she’s stolen 40k (that we know of) from tax payers just goes to show how completely aloof this guy really is.

  • SilentHunter

    It looks like things are moving fast now in the Tory Party; with a possible “out” for Dave and his conundrum of not wanting to lose any women from his Cabinet.

    From the Guardian . . .

    “…Esther McVey, a Tory work and pensions minister tipped for promotion, said Miller’s 32-second Commons apology for over-claiming expenses was not how she would have done it herself, while Nicola Blackwood, a Tory aide in the business department, indicated she would be “really quite worried indeed” if in the same position…”

    There are 2 women, clearly with an eye to the main chance; you can almost see them circling over the political corpse of Maria Miller. :o)

    I don’t think the words “tipped for promotion” are simply idle banter, do you?

  • aurila

    as she is a woman and therefore superior to the men (according to David),
    she should be promoted to Secretary of State for Afghanistan, based in Kabul

  • madasafish

    I have voted Conservative most of my life. Although I think UKIP are wallies (to put it politely), I will vote for them whilst M Miller is a Government with her as member is worthy of any support.

  • agneau

    Does that box she is holding contain a tax demand to pay for her property speculation?

  • George Laird

    Dear All

    She has to go, this is the bottom line.

    Millar is to pay back about £6k, what about the other £40k?

    The SNP got into power on the back of the Westminster election scandal, ‘call me Dave’ doing nothing could usher in Ukip.

    The wider picture seems to have been forgotten.

    I don’t care that Millar went to state school, I wouldn’t care if she went to private, but I do care that she is removed.

    As John Mann said:

    “The question I’m getting all the time is ‘what has happened to honour in British politics?'”

    What did happen to honour, maybe Fraser could run an essay competition with a mug, book or T shirt as a prize for the best bit of scribbling.

    Finally, 32 second apology.

    Cameron needs to say, ‘you…… out’!

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

    • HookesLaw

      The chairman of the committee and Hudson issued a joint statement explaining why it was 6k not 40k.

      • George Laird

        Dear Hookeslaw

        From the BBC:

        “she ( Kathryn Hudson) concluded that Mrs Miller over-claimed by £45,000 for expenses towards mortgage interest payments and council tax on the family home in London on the basis of the rules that were in place at the time.

        She recommended that the MP should repay this precise sum”.

        I think I would want the other £40,000 returned.

        I am an ‘every penny returned kinda guy’.

        Yours sincerely

        George Laird
        The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

        • SilentHunter

          And I would want the £1.2 million she made from flipping her homes for 4 years, returned to the taxpayers.

  • bugalugs2

    Given that so many of the quotes are from Tory MPs who refuse to have their names used in what way is the UKIP claim that the political class is looking after its own not correct? If that was not what is happening, why would they withhold their own names? What would they have to be afraid of?

  • James Strong

    Are these ministers and MPs also telling Cameron to his face that he is fouling this up?
    Or are they such wimps that they only speak ‘on condition of anonymity’?

    • ITB

      I think we all know the answer to that.

  • ButcombeMan

    It is not JUST the press. It is the public and actually it is often Tory supporters. they have just had enough.

    Cameron has seriously mismanaged this.

    What I find absolutely baffling is why the lady herself has not made the decision and gone. Does she want a political life in the future, penance paid? It appears not.

    It is possible to hear/imagine lawyers, maybe her husband, muttering in the background. “Conceed nothing, confess nothing”.

    She is absolutely finished politically, for ever, if this carries on and it is damaging Cameron as well.

    • ITB

      “What I find absolutely baffling is why the lady herself has not made the decision and gone.”

      I too wonder this and think perhaps it’s because if she were to step down then it almost becomes an admission of guilt, and who knows where that could lead? Criminal investigation? Jail time?

      • ButcombeMan

        Abandoning her Cabinet post because her presence amounts to a distraction, would not be conceding much at all.

        it is what she should do, should have already done, if she was properly advised.

        It looks if it is just Cameron holding her there, determined to have a stupid battle of wills. May even have refused to accept her resignation.

        Stupid because the longer it goes on, the more votes he throws away to UKIP. And the more his abandonment of his pledge to clean up, is recognized and remembered.

        He needs someone near him with common sense to blow in his ear.

        • ITB

          I think the last few years have shown that the best way for a politician to handle these situations is to come out and nip it in the bud. Take the lead and step down immediately. People soon forget and move on leaving the opportunity to come back into the fold at a later date.

          It’s just that, like I said above, perhaps this option is off the table because to step down is to admit guilt which could be lead to all kinds of horrible.

          • GnosticBrian

            You mean the exact opposite of Harridan Harperson’s approach to the allegations of her involvement with PIE?

        • SilentHunter

          With an air-horn!

      • Colonel Mustard

        These days whenever they dig their heels in and their peers try to defend the indefensible you can almost guarantee a common purpose is at work. When people have been indoctrinated to believe they are part of an elite network of infallible “leaders” making things better for us little people it is hard for them to acknowledge failure and harder still to condemn their fellow alumni for any misconduct. Instead they close ranks and shove their collective head in the sand.

        That is why Cameron has maintained and defended Long Marchers within the regime.

      • Wessex Man


    • David Brinkman

      Of course what she should do is prove to us doubters that her Wimbledon home was her second home and pay the Capital Gains Tax on it.

      That would shut us all up and show she is an MP with Integrity.

      • Wessex Man

        There is now very little chance of that now.

      • ButcombeMan

        Very funny.

      • ITB

        Well she hasn’t filed her tax returns for the sale yet so there is still a possibility.

        Many seem to be forgetting, though, that over three quarters of MPs are guilty of flipping their homes.

      • SilentHunter

        “…show she is an MP with Integrity…

        Forgive me, but I think you’ll find the horse has already left the stable, on that one. LOL

  • Fergus McKenzie

    #torysleaze – for those of you too young to remember

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh, Its Mr Fergus McKenzie again. Politics a little bit boring in Scotland
      at the moment is it? No little secrets underneath the mattress of Wee Alec,
      who you do not support- I remember.
      No party has made as many mistakes, has so much sleaze and dirty linen
      as the Labour party. And wrecked a country in the process. Admittedly
      we promised to clean up politics from the gutter where Labour left it.
      So therefore David Cameron should find a wee little backbone and sack
      the wench.

      • Fergus McKenzie

        Dear Lady MLB – I’m afraid I only have insider knowledge of the Tory party but I’m sure all the other lot have their snouts in the trough too !!

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh, Dear Mr McKenzie, please just call me Kitty “Lady ”
          I am not a aristocrat. Yet I must address you by your sir name as we already have a Fergus.. it will get confusing!
          And you have “insider knowledge ” to the Tory part do you?
          like some type of clandestine shadowy character, hiding
          within Downing Street- A spy no less ! Or maybe you work
          for the government.. how intriguing.
          Maybe I shall take myself off to Holyrood and find some
          “insider information”- it seems to be the new thing to do.

          • Fergus McKenzie

            Dear Ms. KMLB – Nothing so exciting I’m afraid – I was a student member 100 years ago – so my “insider” knwoledge is very old but many of the movers and shakers back then are still moving and shaking now – and they are just as dysfunctional. deluded and psychopathic as ever

            • Kitty MLB

              Dear Mc Kenzie ( Without the Fergus)
              Its KITTY- no initials or titles. They clearly are dinosaurs
              now, your movers or shakers.. surprised they are still rattling
              around. Maybe age has made them more eccentric,
              individual, determined and dangerous..

              • Fergus McKenzie

                Dear KITTY – I’m sure you are right – although they also remain influential, entertaining and obsessive
                Should I change my name to avoid confusion with a.n. other Fergus ?? Never like Fergie as a moniker so might adopt your suggestion Mc Kenzie has a bit of zing about it


    • ITB

      “Tory Sleaze”, a phrase which found it’s way into the public’s vocabulary thanks in no small part to John Prescott saying it over and over again… in between having an affair with a member of his staff, of course.

      To think this has anything to do with a particular party is just fatuous. The deafening silence form Labour MPs should tell you that – they’re no different. None of them come out of this smelling of roses.

      • ITB

        And fiddling his expenses too, of course. Mock Tudor beams anyone? Toilet seats? Plugs?

        • agneau

          Well done – I award you an honorary PhD in Whataboutery from The University of Two Wrongs Make a Right.

          • ITB

            Thanks mate. I’ll cherish it.

            • agneau

              They are all politicians and with the exception of circa 10 principled MPs they are equally unpalatable. There should be a “none of the above” option on the 2015 ballot and if that exceeds any single candidates votes they should return no one. Since they only represent a small percentage of the population and vote as the whips say it wouldn’t be a great loss to democracy and would save money.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                That all sounds so cumbersome and time consuming. I recommend we just shoot them all as was suggested above.

    • SilentHunter

      I also remember that other favourite at the time . . . “New Labour Sleaze”.

      Now it’s just . . . Sleaze; regardless of which politican or party we are discussing.

      We’re right back to 2009.

  • ITB

    Perhaps I’m being naive, but when Cameron came into office in 2010 he did so with a “sleeves-rolled-up” aura. He was to lead the charge with a no-nonsense-let’s-just-crack-on attitude. Though long since dispelled, I still find I’m a little disappointed by his actions on this.

    Instead of banishing Miller form the Cabinet, he should have been strong enough to ask her to decide for herself that it would be best to step down.

    In addition, I really struggle to think that she’s been able to hold on purely because of gender. Perhaps it’s because if she were to step down it almost becomes an admission of guilt, and who knows where that could lead? A short stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure? Right or wrong, I could understand the PM not wanting to let that happen to a colleague.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Yes, he had many of us fooled. I thought he meant it too when he assured us he would “sweep away” New Labour’s nanny state. He gave a good performance of a practical, down-to-earth man who might tell it like it is.

      The disappointment has been quite profound. I have voted Conservative my whole life but he has managed to alienate me.

      • ITB

        I’m relatively young (31) and so have only had the party I voted for win a general election once (2010). Genuine question: doesn’t this happen to most incoming PMs – they promise so much but are ultimately a disappointment?

        • Wessex Man

          Not this badly, he seems to be joyfully destroying a once fantastiic political party, not that I’m moaning now, I left them long ago and welcome all refugees from their ranks!

        • HookesLaw

          Where is the disappointment.
          The economy
          Pulled out of Afghanistan a year early
          Sorted out labours defence mess
          The reality is the policies are sound and you need to look beyond the hysteric extreme right wing nutjob moaning. The nutjobs only want the purity of their own extreme right wing political purity at the expense of power.
          They hate gays blacks Asians scots welsh irish foreigners. They just hate with a venemous hysteria.
          The nutjobs on the American right are gifting the next presidency to a democrat. Ours are trying to out do them.

          • Magnolia

            Debt still going up further than under Labour.
            The deficit or overspend still very high.
            Prices still going up despite stagnant wages for years and negative rates of interest when adjusted for inflation on savings.
            Concreting over of the countryside and immigration still at record levels.
            Most roads full of pot holes and wind turbines as far as the eye can see with micro-tubines mushrooming everywhere.
            Taxes up and the withdrawal of family relief for the hard working middle classes while the rich contribute less.
            Troop numbers slashed.
            Increased eye watering debts for the young from unaffordable university fees.
            No relief from high housing costs.
            Killer hospitals and work to rule GPs continue.
            I could go on?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Calm down. That is just not true.

          • ITB

            Just because I lack enthusiasm about some aspects of the government I voted for doesn’t mean I’m an “extreme right wing nut job”, mate.

            Yes, the deficit has been reduced by a third but it has been stuck at the figure for for too long.

            • Magnolia

              The more they resort to personal attacks the more we know they’re ‘frit’ and losing the argument/debate.
              It’s the same with red rose rash which is a sure indication of lots of pathetic defending required by the lefties.

            • Wessex Man

              You’ll have to try and find it in your heart to forgive Hooky, this is now the sad level that he has sunken to where anyone daring to dispute his mutterings is a – extreme right wing nut job.

              It’s quite amusing really.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Well, , laddie, president democrat is far more conservative than your socialist mate Call Me Dave, as is Obama, so you might be best to find yourself another analogy.

        • Magnolia

          No, I voted for Mrs T in 1979 when I was a young student and I kept on voting for her. She saved the nation and she did not disappoint. I accept that she could not sustain it for ever but even so her record of ultimately being proved right on the big things showed that the voting public were also doing the right thing in choosing her.
          Mr Cameron is a Blairite or Tory Wet and so was bound to disappoint.
          Ultimately it is the political parties who give us the leaders to choose from. Perhaps party machinery is all wrong?

          • ITB

            You see I’ve never experienced that – a strong, no-nonsense leader who doesn’t take any guff and makes big change.

            I almost can’t imagine having confidence in a PM.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              That’s a wise policy, though. They rarely merit full confidence, although Dave impersonated someone who could fabricate self-merit.

              Dave prospered, at least temporarily, because he was squared off with an incompetent and stumbling cyclops, someone who was arguably the most hated man in the Western hemisphere. But standing alone, Dave is what you see, and it isn’t much.

              • ITB

                I think it was a tweet from the FT’s Janan Ganesh which said something along the lines of “By looking at how ordinary most of the politicians are it’s clear why Cameron was able to rise to the top. He’s isn’t particularly special, just a bit better than the rest of the bunch.”

                • Fergus McKenzie

                  His background (upbringing and education) also make him sound better than he actually is – lots of jolly lovely speeches, and plenty of strong hand gestures make him “seem” in control but in fact he’s not really and intellectually he is weak – gone next year one way or another

            • Wessex Man

              Vote UKiip then.

        • RoadrunnerNick

          No party won in 2010.

      • anncalba

        The salient words are “he gave us a good performance” – “performance” is what we get from modern politicians, not sincerity, not convictions, not deeply held views – just whatever performance the spin doctors say is right for the next hour or two. Some of them are more convincing actors than others.

  • Your Correspondent

    A big thank you to Mrs Maria Miller for working so hard to maximise the UKIP vote on 22nd May.

    • telemachus

      Just what will that achieve
      Zilch in the UK Parliament
      Maybe more embarrassing insults from Farage on EU officials in the European Parliament
      The man is a disgrace

  • Kitty MLB

    Hear Hear to all those Tory MP’s that are doing the correct thing and showing integrity
    by not supporting this ghastly woman and our esteemed jellyfish of a piffling Prime Minister and leader.
    What they say is absolutely correct, we had years of underhand dealings and wrongdoings by the Labour Party. Dave would be tougher on her if she were not a
    woman, how utterly patronising and a pathetic excuse. If she doesn’t do the correct thing and resign, then she must be sacked.

    • Colonel Mustard

      A “jellyfish”? Come now, a blancmange wibble-wobbles more than a jelly fish surely? And a jellyfish stings whereas the Right Reverend Dave merely wags his finger from the pulpit about the price of football shirts or celebrates his spending on foreigners of £11 billion that he hasn’t got and had to borrow in order to give it away.

      • HookesLaw

        Ah aid, and on ‘foreigners’, too. The sauce of it.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Er, it’s more about spending a lot of money he doesn’t have and then preaching about austerity.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Have the muppets at Camerluvvie HQ instructed you to raise the white flag, lad?

      • Kitty MLB

        Yours is better.What about a Octopus, with tentacles
        reaching out to the EU & giving all our money away
        in over seas aid mixed with a hot aired , sugary
        souffle that falls flat. Maybe not.

    • WatTylersGhost

      “What they say is absolutely correct” What who says? None of them has the balls to put their names to their comments.

      • HookesLaw

        Yes but ‘steerpike’ who himself does not disclose his name only makes a big deal out of someone defending miller.
        We can see the self serving agenda of the spectator shining through with its obsession on the subject. It ignores wrongdoings of the press except only as the affect politicians.

        • Wessex Man

          Oh honestly Hooky, you are talking out of the top of your head, are you Tory Boys so now isolated from reality that you don’t realise the damage that this frightful woman and your fawning leader are doing to your own party!

          Self serving Press indeed, did any of them tell her to get up to these antics, to make a shameful 31 second apology about being found out and for the now famous ‘end of’ tosh from Cameron?

          No of course not, yet you sit there typing away defending it all and wondering why the Tory Party is losing so much support!

          • HookesLaw

            What antics? The committee found her not guilty but we’re narked by her. Shame.
            How many minutes do you want her to ramble on for.
            Its you that is pathetic, but do not worry I understand the crowd sourced hysteria which makes you nutjobs so happy.

            • Wessex Man

              You really are such a child nowadys, why even her Campaign Manager became so disgusted with her that he voted for her Labour opponent and has now wisely joined UKip.

              I take it as a badge of honour that you regard me and the rest of the democratic commentors on here as nutjobs, shows we are rattling your toryboy confidence.

              • WatTylersGhost

                Leave Hooky be, he’s part of the comic troop that keeps giving and giving…….

              • HookesLaw

                Your hysteria is childish

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Upon such trivialities are weak leaders disposed of, lad. Your boy Call Me Dave isn’t the first chump the Westminster schemers have strewn a minefield in front of. My guess is that this is part of the plot. It’s like any other drama, it has to be casted and choreographed, so that the evil are exposed and the incompetent take the fall. Now there’s some evil and with Dave there’s always been the incompetence.

                • Wessex Man

                  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, is that the best you can do?

                  Yes I’m hysterical, hysterically happy at the way that you and yours are clearly so insulting your own party people, aided and abetted by Cleggover and Miliband with theirs’ who going to ensure that after this May and next the political world as you know it will never be the same again.

            • George Scoresby

              You haven’t seen anything yet.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, these cowardly muppets have no courage, and are in hiding. It’s despicable.

    • John McEvoy

      Shurely ‘here, here’ – this is the internet, you know. Your expected to make a number of simple typo’s, or you’ll loose point’s.

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh Whoops er Daisies !

    • Alb Einstein

      “Hear Hear to all those Tory MP’s that are doing the correct thing and showing integrity ”

      Integrity? They’re only worried about one thing, their seats and their cushy jobs.

  • Whizjet

    Winterton x 2?
    and the ‘Lords’:

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Ditch DCMS in its entirety. Ditch Miller too. Start handing this sort of enquiry to an outside organisation composed of real people. Oh sod it, shoot the lot of them.

    • kyalami

      The obvious solution – well done. In the next reshuffle (tomorrow?) kill off DCMS. 2 birds with one stone.

    • dmitri the impostor

      David Cameron’s Mumsnet Shambles?

    • Kitty MLB

      Indeed ditch DCMS. I am sure its only there to make MP’s seem ‘ in touch ‘
      with everyday people anyway. Doesn’t work.

  • telemachus

    I know
    Bring back Andrew Mitchell to the Culture Media and Sport brief

  • WatTylersGhost

    Please Dave, don’t fire her yet, this saga has plenty more capacity for damage and entertainment.

    • southerner

      It’s fantastic sport.

      • Epimenides

        I’m loving it. I hope it runs and runs.

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