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Tory press team 'tried to keep Clarke off Question Time'

Ken Clarke has claimed the Tory press office tried to keep him away from the television cameras during his time in government, even attempting to prevent him from going on Question Time.

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Ken Clarke retired from government during last week's reshuffle. Credit: PA

"I had a great row with them [Conservative press officers] when they told the producer of Question Time that I was ill and they were able to provide a replacement," Clarke said during an interview with the Observer.

" It never occurred to them that I could ring up the producer. She said: 'I'm told you are ill.' After that, I got even more freelance."

The former minister admitted there was "constant friction" between himself and David Cameron, saying his views sometimes "didn't coincide with No 10's".

Read: Clarke says economic recovery is unbalanced and still 'fragile'

Clarke: Economic recovery is unbalanced and still fragile

Former Tory Cabinet minister Ken Clarke has questioned the strength of the recovery, claiming the economy is still "fragile".

Mr Clarke, who retired from the government in the reshuffle, said the economy is "not firmly enough rooted" in a balance between manufacturing and services, leaving it prone to shocks.

Ken Clarke said there is still a long way to go before the economic recovery is complete.
Ken Clarke said there is still a long way to go before the economic recovery is complete. Credit: PA

The former minister did however declare himself a "great fan" of Chancellor George Osborne and said the Conservatives had saved the country from calamity by reining in spending.

Clarke, 74, told the Observer that the economy still has a "long, long way" to go before sustainable levels of growth could be maintained.

The former chancellor added that Britain must break out of the "ludicrous cycle" of house price booms followed by crashes.

Read: Ken Clarke 'demob happy' at decision to leave government

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Shadow minister apologises for calling Tory women 'puppets'

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has apologised after labeling female conservative ministers as "puppets" whose most interesting asset was their taste in clothes.

Goodman dismissed complaints about newspaper The Mail's decision to print a "catwalk" spread showing outfits of women promoted in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets".
Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets". Credit: PA

She posted on Twitter: "Mail's page on Tory women was fair: all are puppets who'll change nothing and their appearance really is most interesting thing about them."

But after facing a barrage of criticism, a full apology was issued.

"I was wrong in what I tweeted about Tory women ministers and I apologise to them unreservedly," Goodman said.

Gove's wife tweets link to article criticising reshuffle

Michael Gove's wife Sarah Vine has tweeted a link to a Daily Mail article which criticised David Cameron's "sacking" of the former Education Secretary.

Read: New faces and big movers in the Cabinet reshuffle

Mr Gove was moved from his education post to Chief Whip in yesterday's reshuffle, with the Prime Minister claiming he wanted "one of my big hitters, one of my real stars" in the position ahead of next year's General Election.

The Chief Whip also played down suggestions he was demoted, saying: "Demotion, emotion, promotion, locomotion, I don't know how you would describe this move - though move it is."

He also claimed Mr Cameron gave him the option of staying as the Education Secretary.

More: Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Cameron and Gove dismiss 'demoted job' speculation

David Cameron and Michael Gove have both dismissed speculation that the former Education secretary had been demoted, despite losing his status as a full Cabinet member and taking a £36,000 pay cut.

More: Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered new chief whip Michael Gove to act as "minister for TV".

The new role for the former Education secretary would be to promote the Government's message in broadcast interviews to fire up votes before the General Election.

Michael Gove was ordered by Cameron to be 'minister for TV' this week. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Mr Cameron and Mr Gove both dismissed speculation that he had been demoted, despite unions expressing glee after he lost his status as a full Cabinet member and took a £30,000 pay cut.

More: PM hails Gove as 'one of my real stars' despite move

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Teachers 'cheer' at Michael Gove's departure

Some teachers reacted with glee to Michael Gove's departure from the Department for Education.

One headteacher in Guildford said his staff "just cheered" when they heard the news.

But another former Education Secretary, Lord Baker, said conflict came with the territory and it was "never easy" for a reforming Secretary of State.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

Read: NUT chief: Teachers 'wreathed in smiles' across country

Gove: 'I could have stayed as Education Secretary'

Michael Gove has said that it was his decision to move aside from the role of Education Secretary in the latest ministerial reshuffle.

Asked on Sky News whether David Cameron had given him a choice about moving to become Chief Whip, Mr Gove said: "Yes, he did."

He said part of his new responsibilities would be making sure voters know there is a "straightforward choice" between Ed Miliband and Mr Cameron to be the next Prime Minister.

"Under David Cameron, our long-term economic plan will be secured. Under Ed Miliband many of the gains that we have made will be put at risk," Mr Gove claimed.

Read: NUT chief: Teachers 'wreathed in smiles' across country

Michael Gove: 'I have no idea how much I'll be paid'

Michael Gove has said he has "no idea" what his salary will be in his new role of Chief Whip.

The former Education Secretary is set for a pay cut of almost £36,000 after David Cameron's latest reshuffle.

Speaking to Radio 4's PM, Mr Gove said: "I have no idea how much I'll be paid and it makes no difference to me."

He also brushed off suggestions that he had been demoted.

"Demotion, emotion, promotion, locomotion, I don't know how you would describe this move - though move it is," he joked.

Gove: Nicky Morgan 'intelligent, passionate, principled'

Michael Gove has paid tribute to his successor as Education Secretary, describing Nicky Morgan as "one of the most intelligent" people he has worked with in government.

The Education Secretary also told ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby his new job as Chief Whip meant he could play a role in ensuring a future Conservative government would be "a genuinely reforming government and also a genuinely socially progressive government".

Read: PM hails Gove as 'one of my real stars' despite move

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