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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Nicky Morgan, 'Cabinet Minister' (For 30 Mins)

Nicky Morgan is highly rated by Dave and George (not least for her Treasury Qs performances of late) and it's no surprise she was promoted today.

But it seems a whole raft of women's and equalities controversies could flow from the removal of Maria Miller. 

Given Morgan's vote against gay marriage, was the job of Minister for Women and Equalities split into two different parts, simply to accommodate her views? Or, as I asked No.10 today, is Morgan just the 'Minister for Heterosexual Women'?

Labour were slow to react to this one (EdM didn't even mention it in PMQs, neither did a Labour backbencher), and to the way the most senior minister in charge of women's policy is...a man (Sajid Javid has overall responsibility for women and equalities, Downing St says).

Yet No.10 obviously thought a clever wheeze to avoid any 'downgrading of women from Cabinet' stories would be to give Morgan a special role attending Cabinet.

That's all and well but there are already 11 - yes ELEVEN - ministers with 'attends Cabinet' status.

So it seems that Dave has now come up with an even more whizzo solution. He's made Morgan a 'Cabinet Minister' even though she doesn't run a department and is not a Secretary of State.

The HM Govt website, assuming this is not a mistake, has given her this status HERE. (See key Update below, though)

So in theory she's MORE senior now than Grant Shapps, Francis Maude, Sir George Young, Andrew Lansley...I wonder what they think?

Here's how they appear on the website:

 

 

UPDATE: Nicky's 'Cabinet Minister' status lasted, ooh, 30 minutes. The website has now been changed to demote Morgan to a mere 'Attends Cabinet'. Good job I got that screengrab above. 

Here's the new version, grouping her suddenly with Shapps and others 'attending Cabinet':

 

FURTHER UPDATE: Oh, this gets even more ThickOfIt. the PM's spokesman has just told us at afternoon Lobby that he 'made a mistake' earlier when he claimed Morgan would be reporting to Javid on women's issues. In fact:

"She will report directly to the Prime Minister on women's issues. She will have an office as Minister for Women, supported by DCMS staff. But with regard to her responsibilities for women, she will report to the Prime Minister."

He added that when it comes to Commons Questions on 'Women and Equalities' (previously taken by Maria Miller and by Theresa May before her), "Sajid Javid will have the ministerial lead on equalities issues and Nicky Morgan will have the lead on women's issues".

And yes, we did ask which minister would answer on issues dealing with gay women, only to be told "ministers work as a team".

When asked about the link between women and equalities issues, the PM's spokesman said of 'equalities': "I very much agree it's an important issue but it's far from the only issue [affecting women]. She will be working on issues that particularly affect women across all of Government".

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