Coffee House

Miller and Macleod ‘flag up’ row that could have flagged

8 April 2014

6:05 PM

8 April 2014

6:05 PM

Maria Miller’s PPS Mary Macleod seems to have been trying to emulate what Jeremy Hunt’s former aide Rob Wilson (now PPS to the Chancellor) did for his boss as Culture Secretary in trying to round up support for the minister. The problem is that while Wilson operated below the radar, with his work only surfacing when he got a bit over-enthusiastic and asked them to tweet nice things about Hunt as Health Secretary when his real troubles were long gone, Macleod was rather less subtle and her text messages soliciting support and alleging a witch hunt ended up on Guido’s blog quicker than a 32 second Miller apology.

The really silly element in MacLeod’s message and her subsequent media appearances is that she is accusing the media of a ‘witch hunt’ over ‘Levesen’. Of course the government’s system of press regulation is not popular with the newspapers. But it was Miller’s adviser Jo Hindley who decided to ‘flag up’ what she saw as a connection between a valid investigation into Miller’s expenses and the talks she was holding with editors about Leveson.


Miller herself has penned a column for her local paper in which she tells her constituents that ‘I have let you down’, which would sound a bit more sincere if she had given the impression in the Commons that she thought this too. She also manages to avoid saying that she’s sorry – only that ‘I have unreservedly apologised’ and ‘I have already apologised and repaid an over-claim’. It’s not a bad idea to write something in your local paper for your constituents to read. The problem is that constituencies other than Basingstoke are being affected by this row, according to the MPs raising the problem.

Miller writes that she hopes that ‘over time the focus will once again be on Basingstoke’. But Macleod’s intervention (which her spinner doesn’t seem that keen on) and Miller’s apology (which takes 56 seconds to read aloud) will mean that the focus will remain on the minister for another day. The pair have flagged up a row that could have flagged. And tomorrow we have the last PMQs of term.

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Show comments
  • DavEd CamerBand

    Its predictable for labour that someone like Ed Balls would join labour, because it condones Ed Balls being Ed Balls.

    The Tories have standards, and when their guys make mistakes you say “Please get out of our party”. We don’t want you to be here, we want you to be vessels to move the government to a more center-right place, we don’t care about you, you’re not our God, that’s what labour and the left do, they get behind their saint that gives them their dough, we should just barely tolerate those whom we elect under the umbrella of conservatism. We should make them want to go back to the private sector, we’re not tough enough on them.

    I can’t wait until the media is a level playing-field and all these stories about corrupt lefties will be picked up on and we can start going after our own, but right now the left media complex does a pretty good job of attacking the right.

  • swatnan

    The Speccie and Press are driving in the stake even further and won’t let up until they squeeze every drop from Miller. Its getting personal; and more vicious. The Press smell victory, and they’ll be dancing in the streets tommorrow.

  • Frank

    Dumb and Dumber

  • anyfool

    You can bet Miliband will not ask about this as Balls and his wife will come into play.


    • telemachus

      John Mann does daily
      Including bringing in the Leader of the House for his emergency question today

      • P_S_W

        Really? Mann has quizzed Balls and Cooper on their expenses?

        • telemachus

          Miller is the issue
          As you say it has been dealt with
          And we should move on

          • P_S_W

            I haven’t said anything of the sort.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              What a fascinating interpretation of your comment! Speaks volumes.

  • telemachus

    Give it a rest Speccie

    • Alexsandr

      sorry. do you endorse expenses fiddling? Or carelessness.

    • sarah_13

      “Give it a rest” is the whole problem with Maria Miller. She isn’t sorry, she just wants us to give it a rest and let her get on with her ascent in government. She is an ambitious women with few political convictions. I am a Tory but I really want her to do the right thing for the party and the country and resign first thing in the morning so that the government can talk about their record on the economy and not Maria Miller. She thinks she is more important than the party and that is why she must go.