Mrs Miller, good-news killer

Mrs Miller, good-news killer

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Maria Miller must be hoping she does not bump into George Osborne along one of Westminster’s darker corridors over the next few days.

The Chancellor – bless him – would surely have anticipated at least a few hours setting the news agenda after the International Monetary Fund placed the UK at the top of its league table for forecast growth this week.

GrowthThe IMF’s forecast was an almost complete vindication of the Chancellor’s austerity measures and as ringing an endorsement as he is ever likely to get.

The UK is surging ahead of its rivals, out-performing all other advanced competitors and still repaying its debt.

As a BBC executive might have said in a news conference, that’s all good then.

But hey ho, along came a problem like Culture Secretary Maria.

Mrs Miller, you will recall, was cleared of funding a home for her parents at taxpayers’ expense.

But an independent commissioner told her to repay £45,000 and criticised her for her attitude towards its investigation.

Then MPs got to have their say and, surprise, surprise, reduced Mrs Miller’s payment to just £5,800.

To top it all, Mrs Miller then spent all of 32 seconds in the Commons fully explaining the depth of her regret for the matter.

For a week she clung to her job as the PM gave her his full support, before finally bowing to the inevitable on Wednesday. Even Dithering Dave had come to the conclusion that enough was enough.

Of course, the big loser in all this is neither Mrs Miller nor the Prime Minister, but poor old George Osborne.

The IMF – which just 12 months ago said the Chancellor was ‘playing with fire’ with his austerity package – now says the UK will grow 2.9% in 2014, up from a January estimate of 2.4%, and will see growth of 2.5% in 2015.

This is pretty stellar stuff from an organisation which hasn’t always championed the Chancellor’s approach.

And they are the sort of figures we would have been happy with in the good old days before the credit crunch and subsequent crash.

Jon Simcock
Jon Simcock

But does George get any credit?

You could have been forgiven for missing the story entirely such was the media obsession with his pal Maria.

For her sake, it’s a good job that our hard-working MPs are off on a well-deserved Easter break later this week.

It might just mean she avoids that uncomfortable meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer along the very corridors of power she is now vacating.

 

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