Westminster Times

What would you have given to have been in the room when Nick Clegg "ordered" Tory education secretary Michael Gove and Lib Dem minister David Laws to bury the hatchet.

Once they realised they were not being invited to bury it into the each other's head, their reactions must have been priceless.

The instruction came after the briefing war between the two ministers reached "silly" on the government's damage-ometer and they were requested to jointly author a piece for the Times newspaper explaining there wasn't a cigarette paper's difference between them. Pull the other one.

The best bit was the suggestion that: "the policy that we are rumoured to be at loggerheads about is that rarest of political treasures: a policy that has true cross-party support".

If I didn't know better I might have thought they were taking the mickey.

Latest party donations have been revealed  Reuters

Mind the gap

Is it too harsh to suggest you should judge a party by its donors?

Latest figures show the Tories received £6.6m in donations in the first quarter of the year compared to Labour's £4.4m.

As ever, the unions were the biggest Labour donors with Unite topping the list with a £1.8m handout. Union boss Len McClusky recently said he could switch to another party if Labour didn't pursue more radical policies.

The Tories continued to rely on the rich and powerful with multi-millionaire hedge fund boss Sir Michael Hintze, pitching in with £1.5m. His firm hit the headlines in 2012 amid claims it paid only £77,000 in corporation tax despite annual ­earnings of £125 million.

So what, if anything, does it say about Alex Salmond's SNP that his biggest donors were a couple who won the Euromillions lottery, Colin and Christine Weir, who gave £500,000 pounds each.

Did they lose my letter then?

Free speech

Ukip loves to boast about its tolerance and support for free speech. Although, it appears it has to draw the line somewhere.

The party's South East chair, Janice Atkinson, is quoted saying protestors who "call our supporters fascists, hurl other abuse or any physical assault" should be arrested on the grounds it is a "hate crime".

Pfizer logo
Labour's Mitchell sparked anger with tweet about PfizerReuters

Choosing your words

Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has got himself into all sorts of trouble by tweeting: "Cameron dare not stop Pfizer because he dare not offend the US in any way. Roll up rapists".

Women's minister Nicky Morgan has written a letter to Ed Miliband complaining about the "deeply offensive" use of the word rapist and asking him what he intends to do about it.

Mitchell has defended the remark, claiming the row was "artificial", adding: "People talk about the rape of the countryside and the rape of the rainforest, but it doesn't attract the tonne of abuse that has landed on my head."

Still, he apologised for any trouble he has caused his leader or party adding what he said was "essentially the truth".

Quote of the week

Michael Gove hit back at his Labour opposite, Tristram Hunt, during the Commons row over free schools saying: "He has more contorted positions than some of the leading sex manuals I could name".


Leicester MP Jon Ashworth must have thought he was onto something when he asked the cabinet office the following questions:

"How much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on Christmas decorations in (i) 2012-13 and (ii) 2013-14."

The answer, from minister Francis Maude was probably a bit disappointing. "Nothing".

Does that make Maude Scrooge or a prudent custodian of taxpayers' money?