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Tuesday 8th January 2013 | 18:09
I'm picking up chatter that another minister is set to announce they are quitting the Government* - possibly as early as tomorrow.
The reason is similar to Tom Strathclyde's, to allow the said minister to spend more time with their business interests (Norman Fowler's family excuse seems soooo last century now)
The timing seems strange indeed. Wednesday is PMQs day for one thing. For another, why not get it out of the way on the same day as Strathclyde? Though perhaps it was Strathclyde's boldness that prompted the dash to the exit door..
I'm keeping their identity secret for now...but I have written about them in the past year (how's about that for narrowing it down?)
As Oscar Wilde didn't say, to lose one minister may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two in three days would look a little like carelessness.
*The PM is about to address the Parliamentary Party right now. Wonder if he'll break any news to colleagues?
UPDATE: No. 10 sources say they can't comment "tonight".
As for the PM's meeting with the Parliamentary Party (that's ministers and backbenchers not just the '22), it was a rallying cry for 2015. The PM and Grant Shapps were joined by pollster Andrew Cooper and campaigns chief Stephen Gilbert to explain the 40/40 seat strategy for the next election. The 'Road to 2015' presentation, in a packed Boothroyd Room, had only previously been made to a small closed meeting at party conference. Campaign managers have been installed in the 80 seats and are now in 'boot camp' being trained up. The polling presentation showed that Labour are doing worse now than in two of Margaret Thatcher's mid-terms. In terms of selection for the 80 seats, the party is just coming to the end of its first of three tranches, with candidates in place in Harrow West, Cheadle and Delyn. The event was popular, with MPs allowed to quiz the PM directly about their own constituency, that more meetings will be held.
UPDATE: OK, here goes, the name I've been told is Lord Marland. He is due to announce his resignation tomorrow. He told the PM of his decision today.
He had been due to go up against Baroness Thornton tomorrow on the Equalities Act but is now not expected to appear. Government sources have confirmed to me Marland is indeed the man who'll be resigning.
I've blogged before (HERE) on Lord Flashheart, as he is known among some peers. Who could forget his 'topping up my tan' quote? Or his time as Tory treasurer?
It must be one of the shortest political careers on the red benches in quite a while..
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