Just watched Sir Nicholas Macpherson, permanant secretary at the Treasury, at a select committee.
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The nine former ministers who have spoken out about the abolition of nursery vouchers are not the first Labour MPs to be uncomfortable with the policy (unveiled during Gordon Brown’s conference speech).
There is an early day motion, written by Mark Durkan, which has the names of 45 Labour MPs – excluding the nine ten* Blairites in today’s Guardian (including Patricia Hewitt, Meg Munn and Denis Macshane) who have signed a letter from the Progress group. In total the EDM is signed by 78 MPs.
It’s debatable whether that represents a significant rebellion against the prime minister. What will be decisive is how many other MPs add their names, and how swiftly. There’s no strict equation of x signatures = rebellion. But one rule of thumb is that more than 100 is bad news for a government.
First it emerged that Phil Webster, political editor of The Times, is to move to become Europe editor of the paper after the election – after overseeing coverage of the event from Wapping. His replacement is Roland Watson, head of news at The Times, who has previously worked in Westminster and Washington.
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