Afternoon summary

• David Cameron has been accused of reneging on his pledge to boost female representation in government. Following the resignation of Maria Miller, and today's mini-reshuffle, the Counting Women In coalition (which comprises the Electoral Reform Society, the Centre for Women in Democracy, the Hansard Society, the Fawcett Society and Unlock Democracy) said the proportion of women in cabinet had fallen to 13.6%, a 15-year low. Nan Sloane, director of the Centre for Women in Democracy, said:

Despite his pre-election pledge to make a third of his Ministerial list female, the prime minister is now running the country with a Cabinet that's almost 90% male.

The number of women in Cabinet is now at its lowest level since 1997, more than 15 years ago.

Just three women are now fully fledged members of the top table of politics – out of 22 ministers.

This mini reshuffle has taken us backwards not forwards when it comes to women's representation. We urge the prime minister to honour his pre-election pledge and ensure women's views, experiences and talent are respected at the top table of politics.

Overall, the number of women in government has not changed as a result of the reshuffle. But the number of women who are full members of the cabinet has fallen by one.

• Downing Street has said that Nicky Morgan, the new minister for women, will report directly to the prime minister in that role. (See 4.19pm.)

• Lord Bew, chair of the committee on standards in public life, has told the World at One that parliament needs to tighten the standards rules that apply to MPs. Giving the lay members of the Commons standards committee full voting rights might be one step forward, he said. Currently the three lay members cannot vote, unlike the 10 MP members. Bew said:

In the public mind, if you don't have voting rights you're somehow not a full member and I do think there's a case for saying - and there's possibly also a case for saying there should be more lay members - there should be a debate here. But in the public mind, this is something which doesn't look or feel right. And I think that it is at least the beginnings of a step.

I think there other, a whole number of steps, that parliament has to consider. There are general issues about the ethical awareness, right across the public sector and I think we need more alertness, more self-consciousness about these issues and we should be having a public debate about that as well.

That's all from me for today.

Thanks for the comments.

Here's a reshuffle reading list.

• Iain Martin at the Telegraph says Cameron is losing touch with public opinion.

In opposition, Andy Coulson was Cameron's best barometer in such matters. Although his advice wasn't always followed, he did as Cameron's director of communications have a good sense of public opinion and the direction of a story. Coulson was never really replaced and there do not seem to be many people in Cameron's inner circle prepared to stick it to him when necessary. Leaders make mistakes when they are insufficiently challenged.

Eventually the restrictions and flummery of office must have an impact on how a leader sees the outside world. Cameron was, as opposition leader, able to travel around the country talking to people much more freely than he can now. This is not a personal criticism of Cameron, just an observation that all those filtered lines of people meeting and greeting the PM must after a while give a leader a very strange and unrealistic perspective.

I thought this when I heard that in Cameron's letter of thanks to Miller this morning he said that he hoped she would in time be back on the Tory frontbench. Really? After everything that has happened? Vote Conservative and get Maria Miller back in the cabinet? Really?

• Jim Waterson at Buzzfeed ranks the resignations from Cameron's government by their classiness.

• Cathy Newman at the Telegraph ays Nicky Morgan's promotion shows that women do not get on in David Cameron's government by being outspoken.

Women succeed in Government by being studiously loyal and rarely putting their head above the parapet. Having a wild interest in amphibians or a quirky fascination with bird-watching (as characterful male politicians like Ken Livingstone and Ken Clarke do respectively) seemingly isn’t the way to the top.

• James Kirkup at the Telegraph says it was the voters who brought down Maria Miller.

• John Rentoul at the Independent says Cameron won the argument at PMQs.

I wondered how Ed Miliband would manage to make a mess of Prime Minister’s Questions, after David Cameron hung on to an unpopular Cabinet minister for six days and finally let her go. Actually, it was a harder job than it looked. Maria Miller had gone. The boil had been lanced. The rage of the people against politicians had nowhere to go, and Miliband could not be its channeller.

Indeed, it was trickier even than that, because, as someone briefing the Prime Minister had noticed, Miliband had refused to call for Miller’s resignation the day before. “I'm not calling for that today,” he had said. Perhaps he had been intending to call for it at PMQs, in which case that will teach him to put off until tomorrow what he could do today.

Here's Sajid Javid meeting his new permanent secretary at the Department for Culture.

Perm sec Sue Owen welcomes our new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport @sajidjavid at DCMS HQ.

— DCMS (@DCMS) April 9, 2014

No 10 lobby briefing - Summary

Here are the main points from the afternoon lobby briefing.

• Downing Street said Nicky Morgan, the new minister for women, will report directly to the prime minister in this role. She will not report to Sajid Javid, the culture secretary and minister for equalities. The notion of the minister for women having a man as a departmental boss was generating some criticism. (See 1.10pm.) But that was based on a mistake in the briefing given to journalists, the spokesman said. However, the spokesman could not say who would take the lead on an issue covering women and equalities, such as equal pay. The spokesman said it was not unusual for such overlaps to occur.

It is not uncommon across government for their to be different areas of overlap. Ministers work together on these in all sorts of areas of government.

• No 10 defending having 34 people, or a third of the government, attending cabinet. "These are people that the prime minister believes it is right to have around the table," the spokesman said.

• Downing Street refused to comment on whether Maria Miller should or should not accept a ministerial pay off. It was a matter for her, the spokesman said.

• No 10 brushed aside complaints that there is now no mother in the full cabinet. The prime minister appoints people who are best for the job, said the spokesman.

The Number 10 lobby briefing is over.

The prime minister's spokesman says that, as minister for women, Nicky Morgan will report directly to the prime minister. She will not report to Sajid Javid, the culture secretary and minister for equalities. It was a mistake that that was not made clear at an earlier briefing (see 1.10pm), the spokesman said.

I will post a summary of the briefing in a moment.

The Labour MP John Mann is also urging Maria Miller to decline here £17,000 pay off. (See 3.20pm.)

It is a ridiculous and outdated practice to pay off ministers when they return to the backbenches. In light of Maria Miller's conduct, it would now be inappropriate for her to claim severance pay following her resignation. For her to accept a payoff would be a further insult to the taxpayer.

I am also repeating my call for ministers' severance pay to be scrapped, and hope that more MPs will support my resolution.

Under government rules, ministers who leave office are entitled to a lump sum worth three months' of their ministerial salary. Ministers under the age of 65 are entitled to the pay off if they leave one ministerial post and are not given another one within three weeks.

Asked if Miller should reject the payment, the prime minister's official spokesman said this was a matter for Miller.

I'm off to the Number 10 lobby briefing now. I will post again after 4.15pm.

Here are some more blogs on PMQs.

• Isabel Hardman at Coffee House says it was bad for David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

In spite of the PM flailing, in spite of the messy briefing over whether an emissary from Number 10 was indeed sent to at least suggest to Maria Miller that she should think about stepping down (Number 10 will only say that this was her own decision and sources’ evasiveness in dealing with this question tells us everything we need to know about the answer), and in spite of the mess that this has provided the Opposition to feast on, it doesn’t benefit Ed Miliband. Punching the expenses bruise hurts all parliamentary parties, not just the Tories. It benefits Ukip, not Labour.

• Andrew Gimson at ConservativeHome thinks Miliband failed to unsettle Cameron.

This could have been an excruciating PMQs for Cameron: the day when the many people who deeply dislike him rejoiced to see him humiliated. But although Cameron sounded resentful, he did not look like a Prime Minister whose authority has been shot to pieces. How fortunate for him that Miliband is the Leader of the Opposition. Tony Blair would have had a field day.

Ladbrokes have now got Sajid Javid on 33/1 to be the next leader of the Conservative party. He was on 40/1.

I'm not a betting man myself, but that's probably quite good value. They could be under-rating his chances.

Here's the Guardian video of PMQs.

Ministers who resign are entitled to a pay off worth about £17,000.

Left Unity, the new party of the left, is probably not the only body that thinks Maria Miller should refuse this. But it is the only one to have sent me a press release. This is from Left Unity's Bianca Todd.

There’s no way Maria Miller should get a £17,000 payoff. That would be an incredible slap in the face for everyone in Britain and would stoke people’s anger about politicians further.

Gloria De Piero, the shadow minister for equalities and women, has written to David Cameron asking him to clarify various aspects of Nicky Morgan's new role as minister for women.

Here's the text.

Dear Prime Minister,

Following today's announcement that Nicky Morgan MP will be replacing Mrs Miller as Minister for Women in an 'attending Cabinet' role and Sajid Javid MP will be responsible for Equalities as Secretary of State for Culture I write to ask clarification on the following points:

1. Who has overall responsibility for the Government Equalities Office?

2. Which department does the new Minister for Women relate to, and who does she report to on this portfolio?

3. Which Minister is ultimately accountable to Parliament on these issues?

4. How will the Government ensure that issues that particularly impact on women are properly addressed and fully integrated within Government policy?

In addition I ask for your assurances that all of these matters were given proper consideration and discussed with officials before today's appointments were made.

I look forward to your response on this matter.

Gloria De Piero MP

Gloria De Piero
Gloria De Piero Photograph: John Stilwell/PA Photograph: John Stilwell/PA

Juliette Garside, the Guardian's telecoms correspondent, has summed up some of the issued in Sajid Javid's in-tray as the new culture secretary.

Top of Sajid Javid's intray on the telecoms side will keeping the rural broadband project on track. While the cost is modest compared with the billions being spent on rail with HS2, the government funded plan to plug remote villages into the world wide web could arguably do more for the economy. But it has come under fire from Margaret Hodge's public accounts committee for handing all the contracts to BT, and from rural campaigners for delays and lack of ambition. Olympic games organiser Chris Townsend has been brought in to DCMS to turn things around, but he will need Javid's backing to ensure the government gets its money's worth from BT.

Javid, like his predecessor, will need to maintain a careful balancing act between policing and enfranchising the web. Under Miller, broadband providers agreed to offer all new customers the choice of using a filter for pornography and other unsavoury content. Miller also acted on child pornography, but there has been talk, from David Cameron himself, of action against websites publishing extremist content. Operating a blacklist of extremist material will not sit comfortably with broadband providers.

Further down the road, thoughts may turn to selecting a replacement for Ed Richards, chief executive of the influential media and telecoms regulator, Ofcom. A steady hand at the tiller for nearly eight years now, Richards looked ready to move on when he applied to run the BBC in 2012. Dame Patricia Hodgson took over from Colette Bowe as chairman of Ofcom in December, and Richards may decide to look for the next opportunity now that his board has a new leader.

Lunchtime summary

• David Cameron has offered cross-party talks on the future of regulation of MPs following the resignation of Maria Miller as culture secretary. Speaking at PMQs, he said he understood that the public was still very angry about MPs' expenses.

The biggest lesson I learned is that that that anger is still very raw and it needs to be acted on.

• Ed Miliband has said that Cameron's decision not to insist on Miller's resignation earlier was "a terrible error of judgment". Speaking at PMQs, Miliband said:

If it had happened in any other business, there would have been no question about her staying in her job. Why were you the last person in the country to realise her position was untenable?

But Cameron accused Miliband of jumping on a bandwagon.

You seem to be, in my view ,the first Leader of the Opposition, probably in history, to come to this House and make the first suggestion that someone should resign after they have already resigned ...

I have to say, it is rather extraordinary for you to now come here, having not said that she should have resigned, and now saying she should have resigned. I think it shows all the signs of someone seeing a political bandwagon and wanting to jump on it. You are jumping on this bandwagon after the whole circus has left town.

Cameron also insisted he was right to try to let Miller carry on in office.

I hope that one lesson that won't be learned is that the right thing to do as soon as someone has to answer allegations is just to instantly remove them, rather than give them a chance to clear their name and get on with their job.

If people clear themselves of a serious offence, you let them get on with their job, you let them try to do their job. That is actually the right thing to do. Firing someone at the first sign of trouble, that is not actually leadership, that is weakness.

• Cameron has refused to deny reports than an emissary from Number 10 put pressure on Miller to resign yesterday. Miller herself has also not denied being forced out. (See 10.48am.) There are claims that Cameron sent someone to see Miller yesterday afternoon to tell her she had to go. (See 9.58am.)

• Miller has given a post-resignation interview saying she resigned because she did not want to be a distraction. (See 10.48am.)

• Sajid Javid, the son of a Muslim bus driver, has been appointed as culture secretary, replacing Miller. My colleague Patrick Wintour has profiled him here.

• Nicky Morgan, a junior Treasury minister, has been promoted to financial secretary to the Treasury (replacing Javid) and equalities minister (taking that portfolio from Miller). But she will not be equalities minister (because Javid is taking responsibility for that) and she will not be a full member of cabinet, although she will attend. Labour has criticised this. Gloria De Piero, the shadow minister for women and equalities, put out this statement.

David Cameron's decision to replace Maria Miller with Sajid Javid means that there is now no full member of the cabinet speaking for women. There are now just three women running Government departments out of a possible 22, demonstrating that when it comes to women, it's out of sight, out of mind for this out-of-touch government.

Morgan voted against equal marriage, and this has also triggered criticism. PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen said:

It is unfortunate that the new Minister for Women opposes the rights of some women, lesbians, to have the right to marry. I hope that in her new role, Nicky Morgan will represent all women regardless of the gender of the person they love.

• Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative backbencher, and head of the Eurosceptic Fresh Start group, has been made a Treasury minister, replacing Morgan.

Andrea Leadsom MP is the new Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 9, 2014


My colleague Rowena Mason has a good article about Maria Miller's eight political mistake.

(I'm impressed that Rowena has missed the temptation to bump it up to 10.)

And here are two blogs with a verdict on PMQs.

• George Eaton at the Staggers says Ed Miliband beat David Cameron, but that Miliband missed an opportunity.

Yet while he got the better of the PM in the House, Miliband missed the chance to seize the initiative and make a wider case for reform. As he noted, the Miller affair has "undermined trust not only in his government, but in politics". If any party benefits from the row, it will likely be UKIP, an outfit without a single MP. But it was Cameron, not Miliband, who raised the prospect of cross-party talks on reforming the system. Had Miliband been bolder, he would have demanded an end to the right of MPs to police their own expenses through the discredited standards committee and the introduction of a right to recall (perhaps noting that one Maria Miller signed a letter in support of the proposal in 2008) for miscreants. By focusing on needling Cameron, he missed the chance to offer answers to the crisis of trust in all parties.

• Mark Ferguson at LabourList suggests it was more of a draw.

Did you ask her to resign Prime Minister? Was she asked to go Prime Minister? Did you sack her Prime Minister?

Unfortunately, it was not Ed Miliband who had pushed this point, and forced non-denials from the PM, it was those sat behind him. Miliband had instead sought to ask what on earth had taken so long, whilst accepting that he had at no stage called for Miller to go. There are reasons for such an approach – as I outlined this morning – but that didn’t make it any easier for Miliband. It did, however, lead to the only significant trading of zingers across the dispatch box this year. Whilst cameron believed Miliband to be the first person to call for someone to be sacked after they’d gone, Miliband snapped back that he was surprised it was now his responsibility to sack Cameron’s Ministers. Advantage seemed set to swing towards Miliband.

And yet he never pressed the point home. Cameron was able, somehow, to attempt a scramble for the high ground, as the PM called on Miliband to meet with him to discuss the future of the parliamentary expenses system, the standards system, the cabinet system – anything really, just to let this infernal issue drop.

It was a strategy that worked. I suspect now that we won’t hear too much more about Miller, and that the Tory leadership will be able to slope off for recess and catch their breath.

PMQs - Verdict from the Twitter commentariat

And here is what journalists are saying about PMQs.

Verdicts are mixed.

For Cameron

Here are journalists who seem to think David Cameron won.

Miliband is in serious danger of losing this mini-battle. He certainly ain't won it. #PMQs #Miller

— amol rajan (@amolrajan) April 9, 2014

Ed Miliband has been reasonably impressive in PMQs this year, but he faced an open goal today and, honestly, failed to score.

— tom bradby (@tombradby) April 9, 2014

Cameron shows strong, principled leadership in not instantly sacking a minister and at PMQs daring to defend integrity of this Parliament.

— steve richards (@steverichards14) April 9, 2014

For Miliband

The Sun are giving it to Miliband.

A bad week for @David_Cameron just got worse - our #PMQs verdict hands @Ed_Miliband a 5-1 win

— Sun Politics (@Sun_Politics) April 9, 2014


These two verdicts are more mixed.

Not sure Cameron handled that very well. But EdMili had an open goal - and I don't think he hit the back of the net #pmqs

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 9, 2014

EdM good at #PMQs today. Cam promised to be an apostle for better standards, became apologist for unacceptable behaviour.

— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) April 9, 2014

But Cam better. Firing someone at the first sign of trouble is not leadership it's weakness. #PMQs

— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) April 9, 2014

Other comments

Esther McVey standing at Bar of House for PMQs. Dressed all in black. Looks a little disappointed. Don't worry, Esther. Promotion will come!

— joncraigSKY (@joncraig) April 9, 2014

Best EdM comeback in a while at PMQs :"It's my job to fire ministers in his Cabinet?". Even Tory Mps looked uneasy at that one

— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) April 9, 2014

New Culture Secretary @sajidjavid on the front bench - a few seats down from PM #pmqs

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 9, 2014

Cameron just about avoids saying Miller did nothing wrong #pmqs I'm told Osborne had a major role in Miller going and choosing replacement

— anne mcelvoy (@annemcelvoy) April 9, 2014

As ever, hard to think of a worse advert for British democracy than this atrocious willy-waving. #PMQs

— amol rajan (@amolrajan) April 9, 2014

Cameron accusing Miliband of playing politics over Miller takes the biscuit. Both do that every day :-) #pmqs

— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) April 9, 2014

Judging by the tone of these exchanges, cross-party talks aren't going to get very far. #pmqs

— Craig Woodhouse (@craigawoodhouse) April 9, 2014

Problem for Ed Miliband is that it took him over 5 days to speak publicly about Maria Miller #pmqs

— Nigel Morris (@NigelpMorris) April 9, 2014

Cameron has dodged question of whether an 'emissary' told Maria Miller the game was up several times now #pmqs

— James Chapman (Mail) (@jameschappers) April 9, 2014

Labour says the party was calling for Maria Miller to resign last week.

Labour says PM has got his facts wrong on call for Miller to go. Frontbencher Thomas Docherty called for her to go on Friday.

— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) April 9, 2014

But Ed Miliband was not calling for her resignation yesterday.

The appointment of Nicky Morgan is coming under fire.

Nicky Morgan's appointment means the Women's Minister will have a male boss (Sajid Javid) for the 1st time (ht @nicholaswatt). Oops.

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) April 9, 2014

The government now has an Equalities Minister (Nicky Morgan) who voted against equal marriage. They still can't even do the political basics

— Philip Collins (@PCollinsTimes) April 9, 2014

Actually, Morgan is not equalities minister - precisely for that reason. She's just minister for women. But, broadly, that's still a bit of a mess.

But here's the Number 10 spin.

Why Nicky Morgan is minister for women (but not equalities) PM spokesman says there's been a 'beefing up of responsibilities in this area'

— Sam Macrory (@sammacrory) April 9, 2014

My PMQs Verdict

PMQs Verdict: On Twitter I've seen at least one post suggesting that Ed Miliband faced an open goal and missed it. For reasons I set out at 11.53am, actually he faced a rather tricky challenge. That explains why David Cameron was able to see him off.

Miliband devoted all six of his questions to the Miller affair. He started with an open question about the lessons Cameron has learnt from the affair, but then he focused on attacking Cameron for his decision to support Miller after the report came out last week. Predictably, Cameron said Miliband himself was not calling for Miller to resign. Miliband had a smart reply:

I’ve heard everything – it’s my job to fire members of his cabinet.

But Cameron had a reasonable line of his own too.

I think it shows all the signs of someone seeing a political bandwagon and wanting to jump on it. You are jumping on this bandwagon after the whole circus has left town.

He had a point - which is why the Miliband attack was brushed off rather easily.

Cameron was also better at sounding positive. Buried amongst the partisan banter was an offer to hold cross-party talks on the regulation of MPs and and a repeated insistence that this is a "good and honest" parliament. It remains to be seen whether this initiative gets anywhere. But even some Labour MPs may have been pleased to hear the prime ministers stand up for parliament as a whole.

Andrea Leadsom is being appointed to the Treasury to replace Nicky Morgan, according to Mark Garnier.

Absolutely fantastic news Andrea Leadsome is promoted to the Treasury. Well deserved: long overdue!

— Mark Garnier (@Mark4WyreForest) April 9, 2014

Downing Street has not confirmed this yet.


At PMQs David Cameron refused to deny that pressure was put on Maria Miller to resign.

On the Daily Politics just now Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, told Andrew Neil that his understanding was that no one went to see Miller to tell her she should go.

Nick Robinson contradicts Shapps. He says someone did go to see Miller.

David Nuttall says Cameron should read the winner of the IEA's Brexit competition. Will he accept that should be part of the long-term economic plan?

Cameron says he disagrees with Nuttall on this. But he will consider the IEA pamphlet for his holiday reading, alongside Nadine Dorries's new novel.

And that's it.

The Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd says the scheme to safeguard those who have lost legal aid is not working.

Cameron says the legal aid system is more generous than in other countries. It needs to be reformed.

Labour's David Lammy says one of his constituents was shot five years ago outside a barracks in Northern Ireland. His family are still awaiting justice.

Cameron says this was a dreadful case. In 2015 consideration will be given as to whether to renew the use of Diplock courts in Northern Ireland for terrorist cases.

Alun Cairns, a Conservative, asks about the impact of longer NHS waiting times on soldiers in Wales.

Cameron says the NHS budget has been cut by 8% in Wales. Waiting targets are not being med. There is a "truly dreadful record" when it comes to the NHS in Labour-run Wales, he says.

Labour's Jenny Chapman asks if any members of the cabinet asked Miller to resign.

Cameron says Miller explained her decision in a letter. It was her decision.

Mark Pritchard, a Conservative, asks if Cameron supports reducing the abortion limit to 22 weeks.

Cameron says he has made his views clear in the past. MPs have had a chance to vote recently.

Labour's Paul Flynn says more than 2,000 jobs have been lost, including more than 500 in his Newport constituency, because of "vulture" capitalists buying firms and closing them.

Cameron says he will look at this case. But, overall, employment is growing, he says.

Mike Thornton, the Lib Dem MP, asks about the ethnic cleansing of a community in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Cameron says the UK wants Afghanistan to be multi-ethnic.

Jason McCartney, a Conservative, asks Cameron to congratulate all those MPs running in the London marathon.

Cameron says he is full of admiration. He could not manage 26 miles himself, he says.

Naomi Long, the Alliance MP, asks Cameron to condemn those involved in the "politics of fear" in Northern Ireland.

Cameron says anyone who believes that change is not possible in Northern Ireland would have been surprised to see Martin McGuinness toasting the Queen last night at the Windsor Castle banquet.

James Morris, a Conservative, asks about investing in skills.

Cameron says there are now 1.6m apprenticeships starts. The government is on target for its goal of 2m.

Cameron says universal credit will stop people facing marginal tax rates of more than 100%.

Rehman Chishti asks if Cameron will push for reforms of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

Cameron says he will raise that with the Pakistani prime minister when he visits the UK.

Simon Danzcuk, a Labour MP, asks about a "solicitor from hell" in his constituency. Will Cameron investigate?

Cameron says the legal regulators are independent of government. He will arrange for a meeting with a justice minister.

John Glen, a Conservative, asks about youth unemployment.

Cameron says the long-term youth claimant count has come down by 37% in the last year.

Labour's Andy Slaughter asks if Cameron, or any of his staff, asked Miller to resign.

Cameron says Miller set out her reasons for resigning in a letter today. He has already set out his attitude to allowing colleagues to get on with their jobs.

Cameron says he wants to see more women in science.

Snap PMQs Verdict: Cameron got the better of Miliband because the Miliband charge about Cameron not "getting it" did not stick but Cameron's claim about Miliband being opportunistic did.

Miliband says the public expect higher standards.

Cameron says this is transparent. Miliband came her determined to play politics. Since 2010 a lot of changes have been made. But there is more to do. If Miliband is serious, he will sit down with other leaders and discuss ways of showing this is a good and honest parliament.

Miliband says of course he will have meetings. But Cameron just does not get it. Miller went not because of bad standards, but because of bad press.

Cameron says it is not leadership to fire someone at the first sign of trouble.

Miliband says it will be unclear to the public why she resigned. Yet she refused to cooperate with the inquiry, and she refused to give a proper apology. Supporting here was a terrible error of judgement.

Cameron asks, if that was the case, why didn't Miliband ask for her to resign? Miliband must be the first leader of the opposition to demand a resignation after it has taken place.

Miliband says it is not his job to fire ministers.

Cameron says Miller apologised. It is extraordinary that Miliband is only saying Miller should resign now. He is jumping on a bandwagon "after the entire circus has left town". But Miliband is right to say there must be changes. He says people do not realise the system has already changed. But he is willing to hold meetings to discuss further reform. This is a good and honest parliament, he says.

Ed Miliband says the events of the last week have angered the public. What lessons has the PM learnt?

Cameron says he agrees there is still deep concern. That anger needs to be acted upon. He hopes that the lesson that won't be learnt will be that, if someone is in toruble, you should just remove them.

Miliband asks what the culture secretary did wrong.

Cameron says Maria Miller set out her views in her resignation letter. Miller was accused of housing her parents at public expense. She was cleared. Letting her carry on was the right thing to do.

Tracey Crouch, a Conservative, asks about the dementia strategy. Will it be extended?

Yes, says Cameron.

Cameron at PMQs

Labour's Nia Griffith says Cameron promised to reduce net annual migration to the UK to below 100,000. Will that be met?

Cameron says he has got it down by around one fifth.

Obviously a memo has gone out to make sure there are plenty of women on Tory frontbench for #pmqs to try & hide Cameron's problem with women

— Lucy Powell (@LucyMPowell) April 9, 2014

Cheers, jeers & murmurs for David Cameron as he enters chamber for PMQs. Immediately puts specs on & studies his notes. As well he might!

— joncraigSKY (@joncraig) April 9, 2014

PMQs - Ed Miliband's dilemma

PMQs is starting in about 10 minutes.

Ministerial resignations are normally seen as very negative events for a government. And they are. But they also have the effect of "lancing the boil" and it won't necessarily be easy for Ed Miliband to exploit it at PMQs. He has three options. But they are all problematic.

1. Miliband could attack David Cameron for his handling of the Miller affair. This was the line the party adopted in a statement it put out at 8.30am this morning. But if Labour thinks it is right for Miller to resign today, why did Miliband not say Miller should resign when asked about this yesterday? And the standards committee that effectively exonerated Miller is chaired by a Labour MPs.

2. Miliband could pass over the Miller case and focus on the wider need for reform of the system of self-regulation of MPs. As Patrick Wintour reports, Miliband knows that this is not just a partisan problem.

There are few in the Labour leader's office that think the misjudgments by Downing Street will leave them the beneficiary. The Miliband office was uncertain about whether to call for Miller resignation, not because they had any doubt she should go, but because they felt the only beneficiaries of the public anger were the anti-politicians.

But it might be hard for Labour to demand reforms when the party does not have many proposals of its own to change the way standards are enforced at the Commons. (Labour is calling for the standards committee to lose its government majority, but it always agrees reports unanimously anyway, so it's hard to see how this would make much difference.)

3. Miliband could go for another issue, like welfare. But this would make it look as if he were dodging the issue of the day.


Simon Tait at the Guardian's Cultural Professions Network has written a post on the impact that Maria Miller had on arts and culture.

His verdict? It was minimal.

Will she be missed? Er, not really, either in or out of DCMS. Although she has kept the damage to subsidy to a minimum after the depredations of her predecessor, it has been noted that throughout the whole of Derry-Londonderry's year as the first UK city of culture in 2013, the culture secretary couldn't find the time to visit the city once. She was attacked in the press for underperforming – and in the Daily Mail Quentin Letts found her convicted of the worst of political crimes, that of being boring.

This is not untrue.

In politics resign is a transitive verb, as in: 'David Cameron resigned Maria Miller.'

— John McTernan (@johnmcternan) April 9, 2014

And McTernan should know. He used to work for Tony Blair, who "resigned" plenty of colleagues in his time.

Here is some reaction to Sajid Javid's appointment from Tories.

Great news as Sajid Javid goes into Cabinet. A New Model Conservative for our times whose done great work at Treasury.

— George Freeman MP (@Freeman_George) April 9, 2014

: @sajidjavid - congratulations and well deserved.....

— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) April 9, 2014

Congratulations to @sajidjavid on his promotion to the cabinet. An intelligent man who proved as FST that he has real political talent.

— Ashley Fox (@Ashleyfoxmep) April 9, 2014

The son of a bus driver, comp school educated, and hugely impressive @sajidjavid promotion means now 2 muslims around the Cabinet table.

— Andrew Griffiths MP (@agriffithsmp) April 9, 2014

Delighted @sajidjavid has been made Culture Secretary - he will bring a huge amount to the job and to the cabinet table

— Matt Hancock (@matthancockmp) April 9, 2014

Great promotions for the exceptional @sajidjavid and @NickyMorgan01 - spot on choices

— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithMP) April 9, 2014

My colleague Nicholas Watt points out that the reshuffle has George Osborne's fingerprints all over it.

PM would have called @George_Osborne + said I have a problem. GO would have said I have an answer - @sajidjavid + @NickyMorgan01

— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) April 9, 2014

Sajid Javid has an interesting essay about his background in this set of essays published by Renewal, the group campaigning to widen the Conservative party's appeal to northern and working-class voters.

And a great piece by newest Cabinet minister @sajidjavid the archetype of the British Dream

— Nick Boles (@NickBolesMP) April 9, 2014

Here's a picture of the young Javid.

Terrific pic of a schoolboy Sajid Javid in set of essays penned by working-class Tories published today by Renewal

— Graeme Demianyk (@GraemeDemianyk) April 9, 2014

And here's an extract.

Abdul-Ghani Javid (or, as he was known to me,Dad) arrived in the UK in 1961 at 23 years of age. His family lost everything during the partition of India and their move to Pakistan, so my father’s motivation was quite simple – he wanted to work in Britain and provide the means for his brothers back in Pakistan to be educated.

Disembarking at Heathrow with a £1 note in his pocket (which his father, touchingly but mistakenly, had said would see him through his first month in the UK), my father made his way up north and found a job in a Rochdale cotton mill.

Happy to be employed, he nevertheless strived for more. He set his sights on working on a bus, only to be turned away time and again.

But he didn’t give up. He persisted and was hired as a bus conductor, then a driver, earning the nickname ‘Mr Night & Day’ from his co-workers. After that came his own market stall, selling ladies clothes (many sewn by my mother at home) and, eventually, his own shop in Bristol.

My Bloomberg colleague Rob Hutton has a wonderful fact about Sajid Javid.

Sajid Javid, 1st member of 2010 intake to reach Cabinet, took estimated 98% pay cut to enter politics. Interview:

— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) April 9, 2014

Nicky Morgan, a Treasury minister, will move up to take over Sajid Javid's post.

And she will also attend cabinet as minister for women.

Nicky Morgan MP is the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury. She'll also be Minister for Women and will attend Cabinet in that role.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 9, 2014
Nicky Morgan
Nicky Morgan Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images


Nigel Farage is not standing as Ukip's candidate in Basingstoke. Patrick O'Flynn, Ukip's communications director, has clarifed that in the light of his earlier tweet. (See 10.06am.)

@AndrewSparrow Basingstoke PPC is a local businessman named Alan Stone (chk spell) being unveiled tonight as in introduced to the public.

— Patrick O'Flynn (@oflynndirector) April 9, 2014

Sajid Javid - a reading list

Here's a quick Sajid Javid reading list.

• A Simon Walters interview in last month's Mail on Sunday

• A James Forsyth interview in the Spectator

As the attendant press officers urge us to wind things up, I ask Javid where he sees his career ending up. He responds by musing about his retirement. He says that when he’s sitting on the ‘porch in a rocking chair’, he wants to know that he’s done everything he can ‘to try and help my country give those opportunities that I have had to other generations. Where that means I go between now and my late seventies, I don’t know. But that’s what I want to feel that I’ve achieved.’ In other words: he knows precisely where that means he needs to go, but is too savvy to say.

• A Fraser Nelson blog at Coffee House

Javid could have earned millions had he stayed in the career where he was doing so well – he was in Singapore running Deutsche Bank’s credit trading division when he decided to go into politics. And why? Because he was mindful of the opportunities he enjoyed, and felt he had a duty to something to help more people enjoy these opportunities.

Sajid Javid is the new culture secretary.

Sajid Javid MP is the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and Equalities.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 9, 2014

Javid, a Treasury minister, a son of a Muslim bus driver and a member of the 2010 intake, was supposedly next in line for a cabinet post. But it was thought he might not get this one because David Cameron would want to appoint a woman.

Before entering politics he was a very high-powered banker. As for whether he knows anything about the arts or not, I'm afraid at this stage I have no idea.

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid Photograph: TAL COHEN/EPA Photograph: TAL COHEN/EPA


Maria Miller's post-resignation interview - Summary and analysis

Here is a summary of the main points in Maria Miller's post-resignation interview.

• Miller played down, but did not not deny outright, the suggestion that she was forced out by Downing Street. Asked if it was her decision to resign, or whether she was pushed, she said:

I take full responsibility for my decision to resign. I think it's the right thing to do.

• She rejected suggestions that she was being victimised by the media because of her support for a Leveson-backed royal charter on press regulation. Asked if she was the victim of a witch hunt, she said:

I take full responsibility for the situation. I fully accept the findings in the parliamentary standards report. This is about that.

• She accepted that she had been in the wrong - but declined to elaborate. This is what she said when asked if she accepted she had done something wrong.

I have made it clear, and apologised unreservedly to the House of Commons, and made sure that it was clear to everybody that I took full responsibility for those findings.

• She said she was resigning because she did not want to be a distraction to the government.

This has been a really difficult 16 month. Because I was cleared of the central allegation made about me by a Labour member of parliament I hoped that I could stay. And it has become clear to me over the last few days that this this has become an enormous distraction and it's not right that I'm distracting from the incredible achievements of this government.

• She said she would continue to support her colleagues and "above all the prime minister".


I'm afraid it did not make a good impression. People are often inclined to be sympathetic to a minister who has resigned, but it was hard to empathise with Miller while watching that. Partly that was because she did no really engage with the questions; she just kept returning to her lines about taking full responsibility and not wanting to be a distraction. And partly it was because, again, she has failed to show any real contrition. Asked if she had done something wrong, she said that she had apologised, but she did not say for what and she did not address the point that almost everyone has made, which is that her apology sounded inadequate. And she said she accept the findings in the standard committee's report. But which ones? The parliamentary commissioner for standards' ones? Or the different, and much less severe, ones from the committee. On the Today programme this morning Michael Gove (who had his own difficulties with expenses) sounded like someone who fully appreciates the anger voters feel about this issue. On expenses, Gove now "gets it". Miller still sounds like someone who doesn't.


Maria Miller's interview

Here's the Maria Miller interview.

It was a pooled interview with Sky's Sophy Ridge.

Q: Why did you decide to resign?

Miller says she hoped to stay. But her presence in government has become an incredible distraction. She does not want that. She wants the party to be able to come together. She still supports her colleagues, the party and the prime minister.?

Q: Were you pushed?

Miller says she takes full responsibility for her decision to resign.

Q: Do you think this is part of a media witch hunt against you.

Miller says she takes full responsibility for her decision. She wants to re-iterate her support for the prime minister.

Q: Do you accept that you did something wrong?

Miller says she has apologised. She takes responsibility. She wants to move one.

I will post a summary in a moment.

Maria Miller has been giving an interview. The Press Association has snapped this line from it.

Maria Miller today said she took "full responsibility" for her decision to resign as Culture Secretary, adding that she was standing down to avoid becoming a "distraction" from the achievements of the government.

BBC News is planning to show it shortly.

At an event this morning Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, was asked about Maria Miller's resignation. He would not comment on that, but he did say her replacement should be "somebody who can articulate why the cultural institutions are such a central part of what Britain means to itself and to the world. That the British institutions are such an extraordinary part of our national identity."

And this is what Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, told LBC about the Miller affair.

In every political party, every company and perhaps most families, you get somebody that does things they ought not to do, and the question is how do you deal with it? I think throughout this whole Maria Miller saga, what we've seen is a Prime Minister, who clearly is totally disconnected with how the voters in Britain feel about MPs' expenses.

Let's not forget that taxpayers' money helped this woman to make a profit of £1m, it's a truly astonishing situation. To try and pretend that frankly she didn't really know where she lived simply isn't good enough, and I think had Cameron sacked her a week ago, people would have said 'right, Dave's taken control, he's showed us the kind of administration and the kind of regime that he wants in parliament'. The fact that it has been left her, a week on, to resign I think reflects very badly indeed.

I've taken the quote from PoliticsHome.

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

This is interesting.

UKIP meeting 8pm tonight in Old Basing Village Hall, Basingstoke. Our PPC will be unveiled and Nigel Farage will be the keynote speaker!

— Patrick O'Flynn (@oflynndirector) April 9, 2014

Supposedly Ukip have a candidate already in Basingstoke, Alan Stone, an antiques dealer.

Is he being replaced? I'm trying to get some clarification.

According to Channel 4 News's political editor, Gary Gibbon, Maria Miller did not resign of her own accord. He explains what he's been told on his blog. Here's an excerpt.

There was a personal visit to Maria Miller last night in which someone close to the prime minister told her the game was up.

The decision was made late yesterday afternoon to get rid of her,” a government source told me.

When Maria Miller was confronted with that thinking, it was “not something she immediately grasped,” I was told. But by the end of the conversation she was in no doubt.

There will now have to be substantial reform of the way MPs regulate their conduct, my colleague Patrick Wintour writes in an excellent analysis of the Maria Miller affair, and of how David Cameron got it "spectacularly wrong".

The standards committee, arguably the pre-eminent committee of parliament, also failed in its duty. It may have three lay members looking on, entitled to offer comment, but the committee's decision to overrule the findings of the parliamentary commissioner showed a sympathy to Miller that looked to an outsider like a smug club protecting one of its own.

That mistake will spell the end of self-regulation, regardless of the consequences for parliamentary privilege and the sovereignty of parliament. How this will be done, no one quite knows, but the issue can no longer be left to a procedure committee or a joint committee on parliamentary privilege, the only forums in which the issue has been discussed over the past two years.

If figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority can impose fines on MPs over expenses, some independent body is going to have to take charge of MPs' wider conduct, including lobbying and declaring interests.

Maria Miller's resignation - Summary

Here's a summary of today's events so far.

* David Cameron has said that he is "sad" about Maria Miller's decision to resign and that he hopes she will be able to serve on the government frontbench again in the future. Miller told Cameron late last night that she was resigning, having endured relentless criticism in the press since she responded to Commons standards committee report about her expenses on Thursday last week with a perfunctory, 32-second apology. Miller said she was resigning because her continuing presence in government was "a distraction". Neither Miller nor Cameron accepted, in the letters they released this morning, that Miller had done anything wrong.

* Downing Street has signalled that Miller's resignation will not trigger a wider reshuffle. Esther McVey, the welfare minister, and Elizabeth Truss, the education minister, are being tipped as two of the strongest candidates to replace Miller.

* Michael Gove, the education secretary, has said that there should be significant reform to the way MPs regulate their own conduct. But he told the Today programme he did not have an "instant answer" to the problem.

It goes beyond simply a technical fix to this or that committee. The political class do need to recognise that the level of public feeling about these issues is still very raw. We do need to appreciate that and reflect on it.

He said the public were still very angry about expenses.

My take on these things is that this is a judgment on the political class overall in Westminster and it is a warning to us to take these issues incredibly seriously and to recognise that there is a question of public trust in the political process and the capacity for politicians to police themselves which requires to be addressed. That seems to be the most important thing.

* Labour has said that Miller has "finally done the right thing" and that the affair has cast doubt on Cameron's judgment. (The party is adopting this line even though yesterday Ed Miliband said he was not calling for Miller's resignation.)

* John Mann, the Labour MP whose complaint about Miller led to the investigation of her expenses, has said that Cameron should announce the abolition of the system of self-regulation for MPs at PMQs today.

I would like to see David Cameron announce today at Prime Minister's Questions that that system is going to go immediately and there will be no more self-regulation of MPs by MPs.


I have not seen many Conservative MPs defending Maria Miller on Twitter.

But this, from the planning minister Nick Boles, is warm and generous.

Through reasonable argument and calm persuasion Maria Miller made it possible for me and thousands like me to get married. Thank you Maria.

— Nick Boles (@NickBolesMP) April 9, 2014

I'm not sure that's entirely true. The equal marriage legislation was passed because David Cameron decided to push it through parliament, not because Miller took the initiative. But she did steer the legislation through the Commons quite diplomatically, adopting an emollient tone and doing her best at all times to avoid antagonising the many Tory opponents of the measure.

Here's some more comment on Miller's resignation from journalists and commentators on Twitter.

Maria Miller QUITS - her resignation letter rather longer than the non-apology that cost her her job

— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) April 9, 2014

The real reason Maria Miller thought it may be time to quit

— steve hawkes (@steve_hawkes) April 9, 2014

In other words, the Sun is claiming it forced Miller out.

No wide reshuffle post Maria Miller today, Downing St sources say. Just replacements.

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) April 9, 2014

Was told yesterday that Craig Oliver was determined to face down media over Miller lest the media get the whip hand over government. Oops.

— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) April 9, 2014

No tears in Derry/Londonderry for Maria Miller - the Culture Secretary who couldn't find time to visit the UK's first ever City of Culture.

— David Blevins (@skydavidblevins) April 9, 2014

WoooHooo. Gove works in "long-term economic plan" even while talking about Miller!!!

— Andrew Neil (@afneil) April 9, 2014

Very impressive Maria Miller mopping up job by Michael Gove on #r4today, and with almost zero notice. Conciliatory rather than angry.

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) April 9, 2014

Problem for #MariaMiller at election - thousands commute from Basingstoke to London every day and won't understand her 2nd pad in Wimbledon.

— Michael Savage (@michaelsavage) April 9, 2014

I don't think Maria Miller will be the Conservative candidate for Basingstoke at the general election. That would be UKIP GAIN.

— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) April 9, 2014

Something quite strategically brilliant about the evident Tory ploy to make Miller's resignation not about them but about ALL MPs.

— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) April 9, 2014

Maria Miller might be Ukip's most effective campaigner at the European elections

— Tim Wigmore (@timwig) April 9, 2014

Strange timing on miller resignation - did PM really not know she was goner last night? Could have avoided a further negative news cycle

— James Tapsfield (@JamesTapsfield) April 9, 2014

MIchael Gove sounding thoughtful, civilised and humane about Miller and public anger over expenses. #r4today

— Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) April 9, 2014

Newspapers more in touch with the public on Maria Miller than those attacking papers for criticising her expenses. End of

— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) April 9, 2014

Maria Miller gets to keep practically all her dosh and knows she'll be back on the frontbench. More of a sabbatical than a resignation

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) April 9, 2014

I mentioned some possible Maria Miller replacements earlier (see 8am), but Coffee House has now produced a more detailed list. It's is very thorough, even listing the number of Tory members of the government who are mothers (nine).

Labour party statement on Miller's resignation

Here's a statement from the Labour party about Maria Miller's resignation.

It is welcome that Maria Miller has finally done the right thing. By resigning she has recognised that the public expect and deserve the highest standards from politicians.

Labour said all along that you cannot have one rule for a Cabinet minister and one rule for everybody else.

That it came to this raises questions for David Cameron whose judgement has been found wanting. Yet again he has shown himself to be out of touch and a prime minister who only stands up for one of his own.

Nick Robinson says he has been told that yesterday afternoon David Cameron was preparing to defend Maria Miller at PMQs.

But, when he returned from the state dinner for the Irish president at Windsor Castle, he got a call from Maria Miller saying she would resign.

He says those defending Miller focused on the narrow details of the case (the fact that she had been cleared of the main allegations against her). They ignored the wider public sentiment about expenses.

Miller will be replaced from outside the cabinet, he says.

And he predicts that Cameron will have to address the need for wider reform of the system of the way MPs regulate their conduct.

Q: The commissioner says Miller should pay back £45,000. MPs said she should only pay back £5,000. That's wrong, isn't it.

Gove says he accepts that looks wrong. He could get into a discussion about how the system has changed. But the public need to know that politicians "get it". Nit-picking about the facts of this case does not give that impression.

Changes have already been made to the expenses regime, he says.

Q: I bet you're glad you're not facing MPs at PMQs.

Gove says he finds this "sad". He was elected to the Commons at the same time with her. She worked "incredibly hard", and took some brave decisions, not least on equal marriage. She is someone he likes and admires, he says.

Q: Was this a witch hunt?

Gove says Miller's aides feel for her. But he would not criticise the press, he says.

And that's it.

Q: Doesn't this show MPs still don't get it about expenses?

Gove says he thinks that's right. There are details about Miller's case; she was cleared, he says. But there is still a degree of public distrust about the political class.

Q: So what are you going to do about it?

Gove says some changes have been made. But politicians probably need to reflect. He says he does not have an instant answer. It is not just a matter of making a technical fix to a committee. This is not just about expenses. This touches on broader matters.

He says there are other important things the government is doing. The public want politicians to concentrate on those issues. But they want them to address these issues of trust too.

Q: Cameron showed, at best, indecisiveness, he says. He says Miller's apology, he saw the reaction, and yet he gave her his warm support. Doesn't this cast doubt on his judgment?

Gove says human decency is a virtue.

Q: In a leader?

Gove says it is a virtue in a leader, because a leader has to lead a team. He stands by people. As a result, the government is more united.

Q: Isn't it just because of PMQs today? Cameron decided that he would get a "shellacking" from Ed Miliband [although Humphrys says "David" first].

Gove says it was Miller's decision to resign.

Q: Have you spoken to the prime minister?

Very briefly this morning, Gove says. He says David Cameron said it was Miller's decision to resign. He is very loyal to his team, Gove says.

Q: But he has to be loyal to the party too. And he failed to do that in this case. His judgement has been flawed. He should have seen this coming.

Gove says different people took a different view about this matter. His attitude has been governed by the "basic human decency" that is his hallmark.

Q: But leaders need to be tough too?

Gove says Cameron can take tough decisions, for example in foreign policy. When it is necessary to act quickly, he does so.

Q: But you have had six days of terrible press coverage?

Gove says the political class as a whole need to reflect on this. The public are still angry about expenses. This is a judgment on the political class as a whole. It is a warning to them, he says.

Michael Gove interviewed on Today

John Humphrys is interviewing Michael Gove, the education secretary.

Q: Yesterday I imagine you thought you would be defending Maria Miller today.

Gove says he thought he would be talking about GCSEs. Miller's resignation is very sad, he says. But she felt that it would be "better for the government" if she left, because her presence was damaging the government.

Q: Were you surprised?

Gove says a lot of anger was directed at Miller.

The political class need to recognise that public feeling about expenses is still very, very raw.

Q: When did she decide to resign?

Gove says he only found out about her resignation about an hour ago. He has not spoken to her since then.

Michael Gove
Michael Gove Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Barcroft Media Photograph: Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media


And her is some political reaction to Maria Miller's resignation.

From Conservatives

Maria Miller resigned. Expenses HAVE to be abolished and recall introduced. Public has no stomach for reform the word expenses is toxic

— Nadine Dorries MP (@NadineDorriesMP) April 9, 2014

Miller Resignation: Inevitable, sadly, from Monday, when the focus shifted to second home designation, profits on sale & CGT.

— Paul Goodman (@PaulGoodmanCH) April 9, 2014

From Labour

Maria Miller resigns. Inevitable. PMQ's would have been a bloodbath.

— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) April 9, 2014

So much for the idea that PMQs is a pointless pantomime - striking how often resignations occur on Wednesdays #MariaMiller

— Kevin Brennan (@KevinBrennanMP) April 9, 2014

From Ukip

Maria Miller thrown overboard. Cam's judgement looking disastrous.

— Patrick O'Flynn (@oflynndirector) April 9, 2014

And Isabel Hardman has posted her verdict at Coffee House. Here's an excerpt.

As Miller says in her letter, ‘the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around’: yesterday the IMF upgraded the UK’s growth forecast, but this further evidence that George Osborne had survived his own ‘364 economists‘ moment was largely ignored .

Fraser Nelson at Coffee House has written a powerful post describing the Maria Miller saga as a Tory shambles. Here's an excerpt.

The blame starts with the Prime Minister. He should need no telling about expenses scandals. Not so long ago, he dealt quickly and forcefully with Tory MPs who had been exposed by the Daily Telegraph’s investigation – in stark contrast with the stunned Gordon Brown. Now it seems it was Mr Cameron’s turn to see all this chiefly as a battle with the press, of resisting a witch-hunt, rather than as a simple matter of probity ...

Having chosen the fight, No10 seem to have had no plan for winning it. Normally, the drill is to line up Ministers and MPs who can go out to defend the embattled minister. No such arrangements were made. I’ve spoken to MPs who have been stunned at the sheer disorder in No10, the utter absence of a political operation of the ability to even guess how all this would play out. The Cabinet has been noticeable by its silence – aware of just how toxic it is to be seen defending someone found to have been on the hey-diddle-diddle. Normally, a Prime Minister either drops the minister or mounts a proper operation to defend the minister. In this case, neither happened.

Esther McVey, the welfare minister, was allowed to go on to ITV’s The Agenda and admit that she would not have fiddled her expenses – stoking the row further. Perhaps she was being mischievous. But it’s more likely that she alerted No10 about her position before going to the programme, and was not discouraged. Yet again, an abject failure of party management has been exposed.

Here is some snap reaction to Maria Miller's resignation on Twitter from journalists and commentators.

So, the Maria Miller situation is resolved before PMQs

— James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) April 9, 2014

James is right. You can't say PMQs is pointless. Having it in the diary does tend to focus minds in Downing Street, and bring matters like this to a head.

Maria Miller resigning to spend more time in her £1.2m Tudor barn leaves Cameron in the lurch. Her judgement better than his

— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) April 9, 2014

Maria Miller resigns - but political damage now is greater than had she gone in the first place. Who now for Culture, Media and Sport?

— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) April 9, 2014

My money is on Esther McVey. The Treasury minister Sajid Javid is supposed to be next in line for a cabinet job, but David Cameron will be keen to replace Miller with another woman. McVey is a former broadcaster, and so would bring some measure of expertise to the culture brief (which is a useful asset in a minister, but by no means an essential one.) The education minister Elizabeth Truss is also a possibility.

It was survivable for Miller, but a difficult manner and badly judged apology did for her.

— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) April 9, 2014

Maria Miller demise says a lot about power of backbench Tories. On Monday, No 10 said: "It is the PM to choose his Cabinet, not MPs."

— James Kirkup (@jameskirkup) April 9, 2014

There WILL be a statement from Maria Miller herself this morning before #pmqs

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 9, 2014

Attitude of Tory MPs in marginal seats was particularly important. And they were v unhappy at Maria Miller saga.

— James Kirkup (@jameskirkup) April 9, 2014

Spare a thought for Andrew Lansley - sent to Newsnight last night to make the government's case for Maria Miller. Beaten up for nothing.

— Sam Macrory (@sammacrory) April 9, 2014

Will smiling assassin Ester McVey win promotion after knifing Miller?

— MirrorJames (@MirrorJames) April 9, 2014

Quite possibly. See above.

Big question today: would Maria Miller still be in her job had she spoke for more than a minute in Commons last week?

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) April 9, 2014

The Telegraph yesterday spoke to 23 MPs in the UK's most marginal seats - none backed Maria Miller to stay in her job.

— Peter Dominiczak (@peterdominiczak) April 9, 2014

John Peinaar tells us a more extensive re-shuffle is expected than merely replacing Maria Miller

— Nicky Campbell (@NickyAACampbell) April 9, 2014

John Mann, the Labour MP who submitted the original complaint about Maria Miller, has just been on the Today programme. Here are the key points he made.

* Mann welcomed Miller's resignation. "About time too", he said.

* He said that the worst thing about her behaviour was that she tried to "intimidate" the parliamentary commissioner for standards who investigated her case. That should have led to her instant resignation, he said. He also criticised her for trying to intimidate the Daily Telegraph when it first investigated her expenses.

* He said Miller resigned now because the Tories realised quite how much damage this was doing to them with voters.

* He renewed his call for the system of self-regulation of MPs to end. David Cameron should announce that at PMQs, he said.

Cameron's reply to Miller

And here's David Cameron's reply.

Dear Maria,

Thank you for your letter. I was very sorry to receive it.

I think it is important to be clear that the Committee on Standards cleared you of the unfounded allegations made against you, a point which has been lost in much of the comment in recent days.

You can be extremely proud of your work in Government - as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, as Minister for Women and as Minister for Disabled People.

You have been responsible for successfully handling two of the most controversial issues with which this Government has dealt. As Culture Secretary, you have played a critical role in advancing Britain's proud record of respect and equality in piloting the Equal Marriage Act through Parliament and onto the Statute Book. There are many people in our country today, and there will be many in the future, who will always be grateful for this very important change, which you did so much to bring about. You have also handled the sensitive subject of press regulation with skill and dedication.

You can be very proud as well that you have led one of the most important infrastructure projects: many more premises are now able to access super-fast broadband . You have also ensured a lasting legacy for the Olympic Games.

As you leave the Government, you should be proud of your service on the Frontbench and in Opposition.

I am personally very grateful for the support you have always given me, and which I am sure that you will continue to give. I hope that you will be able to return to serving the Government on the Frontbench in due course, and am only sad that you are leaving the Government in these circumstances.

David Cameron

Maria Miller resigns - Her letter to David Cameron

Maria Miller, the culture secretary, has resigned.

Here's here letter to the prime minister.

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with great regret that I have decided that I should tender my resignation as a member of the Cabinet.

I am very grateful to you for your personal support but it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around.

I have been a member of the Conservative Party for more than 30 years. As a working mother, educated at a South Wales comprehensive school, I know that it is our party that understands the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to succeed regardless of where they come from.

I am immensely proud of what my team have been able to achieve during my time in Government: ensuring that our arts and cultural institutions receive the rightful recognition that they deserve in making Britain Great; putting women front and centre of every aspect of DCMS's work; putting in place the legislation to enable all couples to have the opportunity to marry regardless of their sexuality.

Of course, implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson on the future of media regulation, following the phone hacking scandals, would always be controversial for the press. Working together with you, I believe we struck the right balance between protecting the freedom of the press and ensuring fairness, particularly for victims of press intrusion to have a clear right of redress.

I will continue to support you and the work of the Government as you move forward. Ensuring the best future for the people of Basingstoke has been my priority throughout the last nine years. Whether on the front or back benches of the House of Commons I will continue this work.

The only reason I was able to become an MP and indeed a government minister and cabinet minister is because of the unstinting support of my husband, my mother, my father and my three children. I owe them all a great deal.

Maria Miller



Andrew Sparrow

The GuardianTramp

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Cameron and Miliband at PMQs: Politics live blog
Andrew Sparrow's rolling coverage of all the day's political developments as they happen, including David Cameron and Ed Miliband at PMQs and peers debating the emergency surveillance bill

Andrew Sparrow

16, Jul, 2014 @4:51 PM

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Maria Miller - MPs' self-regulation system criticised: Politics live blog
Andrew Sparrow's rolling coverage of all the day's political developments as they happen, including latest developments in the Maria Miller controversy and Ed Miliband's speech on the cost of living crisis

Andrew Sparrow

08, Apr, 2014 @3:58 PM

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PMQs and release of the coalition's pledge audit: Politics live blog

Andrew Sparrow's rolling coverage of all the day's political developments, including David Cameron and Ed Miliband at PMQs and the publication of the coalition's pledge audit

Andrew Sparrow

09, Jan, 2013 @7:14 PM

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Politics live blog + PMQs live

Andrew Sparrow with all today's politics news – including Ed Miliband's first prime minister's question time

Andrew Sparrow

13, Oct, 2010 @7:40 AM

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Politics blog + PMQs live

Join Andrew Sparrow for rolling coverage of all the day's political developments including PMQs

Andrew Sparrow

09, Feb, 2011 @8:38 AM

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Politics live blog + PMQs

Join Andrew Sparrow for rolling coverage of today's news including prime minister's questions and Danny Alexander at the Treasury committee

Andrew Sparrow

03, Nov, 2010 @8:26 AM

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Politics blog + PMQs live

Andrew Sparrow with all today's politics news – including prime minister's questions at midday

Andrew Sparrow

01, Dec, 2010 @8:44 AM

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Politics blog + PMQs live

Join Andrew Sparrow for rolling coverage of all the day's political developments including prime minister's questions

16, Feb, 2011 @8:32 AM

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Banking Bonus debate: Politics Live blog
Andrew Sparrow’s rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Cameron and Ed Miliband at PMQs

Andrew Sparrow and Aisha Gani

25, Feb, 2015 @4:12 PM

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Politics blog + PMQs live

Andrew Sparrow with all the latest politics news – including David Cameron v Ed Miliband at prime minister's questions

Andrew Sparrow

24, Nov, 2010 @8:24 AM