coffee house

Coffee Houserss

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

8 April 2014 18:05
New MPs in Westminister

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… Continue reading


Briefing: Maria Miller’s marginal critics

8 April 2014 17:35
Esther McVey, Zac Goldsmith, Nicola Blackwood, Matthew Offord, Mark Field and Grant Shapps.

Day five into the Maria Miller debacle and the calls for her resignation keep on coming. As Isabel reported earlier, more MPs are starting to break cover. Many of the… Continue reading


Immigration Bill row looms closer to Commons

8 April 2014 17:05
Home Secretary Theresa May Speaks At The College of Policing Conference

The Commons is in legislative limbo at the moment, waiting for the Queen’s Speech, which has just been delayed another day to 4 June. But one thing that could well… Continue reading


More Tory MPs break cover on Miller

8 April 2014 14:38
Zac Goldsmith was one of a number of Tory MPs to criticise Maria Miller this morning. He said he was surprised she hadn't resigned.

Tory MPs now feel it’s acceptable to pile in on the Maria Miller row and offer their views. Mark Field has just told the World at One that her apology… Continue reading


Curious lack of support for Miller in Cabinet

8 April 2014 13:53
Maria Miller and colleagues at the Cabinet table. Image: Getty

Senior 1922 Committee members are quite surprised by the suggestion that tomorrow’s end-of-term meeting with the Prime Minister represents the deadline for the Maria Miller problem to be resolved. But… Continue reading


Alas poor Jeremy Browne, the man who loved this government not wisely but all too well

8 April 2014 11:20
United Kingdom Minister of State for For

Poor Jeremy Browne. Sacked for believing in the government in which he served*. Then again, no-one claims politics, or life, is fair. So it is good to see Mr Browne… Continue reading


Let women fight on the front line, but only if they pass the tests

8 April 2014 11:17
Women should have access to all areas of the army (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty)

The head of the British Army has given the clearest sign yet that women will soon be given the right to fight on the front line in a combat role.… Continue reading


Boris Johnson: Maria Miller is being hounded

8 April 2014 8:54
London's mayor Boris Johnson delivers a

As backbenchers apparently gang up on Maria Miller, she’s seen Conservative and Lib Dem colleagues trying to defend her – and dampen down Esther McVey’s comments – on the airwaves… Continue reading


Esther McVey breaks cover on Miller: ‘It wouldn’t be how I would have made an apology’

7 April 2014 20:55
Esther McVey. Image: Getty

Esther McVey is known as a plain-speaking Tory. That ability to avoid mincing her words might propel her into the Cabinet one day – possibly as a replacement for Maria… Continue reading


Even Iain Duncan Smith’s critics can’t reject his welfare reforms

7 April 2014 18:18

Iain Duncan Smith’s speech today setting out the moral mission behind his welfare reforms (his series of interventions doing this was previewed in the Spectator at the start of this year)… Continue reading


Court of public opinion hands down awkward judgement on Miller case

7 April 2014 17:32
David Cameron asked Patrick McLoughlin to apply a 'smell test' to see if expenses claims were justifiable in the court of public opinion in 2009.

There are always all sorts of bizarre petitions calling on politicians to do this, that and the other. By and large, politicians tend to ignore them. But the petition calling… Continue reading


Will reforms to self-regulation of MPs be enough to distract from Miller row?

7 April 2014 16:50
A Duck House Is Floated Past Parliament In Protest Over The Expenses Row

The Prime Minister’s position on Maria Miller has shifted a little in the past few days – but only on the wider issue of self-regulation. At this afternoon’s lobby briefing,… Continue reading


Will David Cameron insult the Welsh by sending them Maria Miller?

7 April 2014 16:28
David Cameron and then leader of the Welsh Conservatives Nick Bourne in 2011. Image: Getty

The Maria Miller problem is not going away for the government. Tory MPs who went back to their constituencies over the weekend have come back to Westminster depressed about how… Continue reading


Big catch for Tory reconciliation team as rebel gives up anti-Cameron fight

7 April 2014 14:53

Mark Wallace has a fascinating post on ConHome reporting that Andrew Bridgen has written to the Prime Minister withdrawing his letter calling for a leadership contest. Bridgen, if you remember,… Continue reading


Tory MPs turn on Maria Miller – and Dave

7 April 2014 14:38
Maria Miller's support is vanishing as press moves in for the kill. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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… Continue reading


Maria Miller and the anatomy of a Tory row

7 April 2014 8:42
Culture Secretary Maria Miller And Alan Davey Unveil Items Accepted In Lieu From The Estate Of Lucian Freud

The papers are trying to keep the momentum going in the Maria Miller row this morning, with a fresh angle in the Telegraph. Such is the seriousness of an adviser’s threat… Continue reading


Has anyone noticed Tory tanks rolling onto Labour’s lawn?

7 April 2014 8:40

It’s unfashionable to talk about the battle for the centre ground these days. The fight to win political credibility is conducted through a new prism. Populists versus the establishment, centralisers… Continue reading


Cameron’s renegotiation strategy is no longer an obstacle to a second Tory-Lib Dem coalition

6 April 2014 16:11
The Prime Minister And Deputy Prime Minister Announce Their Mid-Term Review

David Cameron’s plan to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the European Union has long been regarded as a major obstacle to a second Tory-Lib Dem coalition. But, as I report in… Continue reading


Will Maria Miller become a victim of the ten-day rule?

6 April 2014 15:17

Today’s newspapers do not make happy reading for Maria Miller – or David Cameron. After informing the press that it was ‘time to draw a line’ under Miller’s expenses, he… Continue reading


An afternoon in Tower Hamlets on the stump with Lutfur Rahman

5 April 2014 22:16
Lutfur Rahman and members of Tower Hamlets First this afternoon.

It’s been a busy week for Lutfur Rahman. On Monday, the mayor of Tower Hamlets was the subject of a Panorama investigation, which alleged he had misdirected public funds. Yesterday,… Continue reading


Maria Miller reminds us why no politician should oversee the press

5 April 2014 11:43

The Daily Telegraph last night released the audio of Maria Miller’s special adviser implying very clearly that its reporter should lay off investigating the Culture Secretary’s expenses because she was… Continue reading


Maria Miller, a political zombie

5 April 2014 11:20
Maria Miller. Image: Getty

Talking to Tory ministers in the last 24 hours, one of the things I’ve been struck by is the level of irritation with Maria Miller’s graceless apology. It is easy… Continue reading


Labour are shouting from the sidelines. It’s the Conservatives who are delivering for Britain.

5 April 2014 11:19
Just some of the Conservative team who are delivering for Britain. Image: Getty

Outside of a Wednesday lunchtime, most people very sensibly ignore the Punch and Judy trivia of politics. They want MPs to get on with the job: building a stronger, more… Continue reading


The Grand National 2014: Could the ‘Royal Dude’ triumph?

5 April 2014 10:49
Image: Getty

Channel 4 have gone all out with their coverage of today’s Grand National (sponsored, for the first time, by Crabbie’s). As well as the race itself, the channel boasts of having… Continue reading


Verse about vice

5 April 2014 4:00
The Rake's Progress

William Congreve wrote, in the Epistle Dedicatory to his 1693 comedy The Double-Dealer, that it is the business of a comic poet to paint the vice and follies of humankind… Continue reading