Two decades on from Hezza, Francis Maude resurrects one of the largest offices in Whitehall history

The man they called Tarzan was a big guy. Maybe he needed a big office. Do his successors in the Coalition Government need one too?

Share

When Michael Heseltine was Deputy Prime
Minister 20 years ago, the size of his office became a Whitehall legend.

There has never been a minister since who took up so much floor space – until this month’s ministerial shuffle. Where there had previously been one minister of state, Oliver Letwin, working with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, there are now two, after the rehabilitation of David Laws. There are also two junior ministers, Nick Hurd and Chloe Smith, and, uniquely, two Ministers without Portfolio, Grant Shapps and Kenneth Clarke.

So the room that once housed Michael Heseltine and that has served for many years as a meeting room, is now an office. Its proud occupant is Francis Maude.

***

Nameless minister spills the beans on being sacked

Today’s Spectator has a witty account by an unnamed government minister describing what it was like being sacked. Rumours suggested Nick Gibb, sacked from his job as an education minister. Mr Cameron told the Commons: “Let me pay tribute to him for his long-standing work on educational standards and his belief in true rigour in schools. He has seen many of his ideas put into practice…” Yes, Mr Cameron, people say he was good at his job. But then, why sack him?

***

Thanks Norman, what joy it is to buy a train ticket

“Passengers continue to enjoy widespread and easy access to the purchase of rail products,” says a written statement from the Transport minister, Norman Baker. It takes a minister to remind us of the fun that can be had buying a rail ticket.

***

A woman’s place is behind the fridge, and don’t forget it

An indignant email pings in from Godfrey Bloom, Ukip member of the European Parliament. He has been on local radio with Sarah Veale of the TUC, who accused him of having said that “women should not go to work but should stay at home and clean behind the fridge”. Mr Bloom claims this is “simply a lie” and Ms Veale should apologise.

What he actually said, shortly after he was elected MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside in 2004, was that he wanted to deal with women’s issues because “I just don’t think they clean behind the fridge enough.”

He added: “I am here to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home. I am going to promote men’s rights.” Not at all the thoughts of a man who thinks women belong in the home, cleaning fridges.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line IT Support / Senior Engineer / Support Analyst

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recognised as one of the fastes...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager - Refrigeration

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the endless and beginningless election campaign goes up and down

John Rentoul
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

What the advertising world can learn from Zoella's gang

Danny Rogers
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor