That the newspapers have been keen to hoist Maria Miller, the minister responsible for the shepherding the press regulation legislation from a lamppost for continuing to claim a level of expenses on a mortgage after a favourable change in the lending interest rate is not surprising.

That the affair has been so badly managed by the professional party and the MPs so close to an election should probably raise some eyebrows.

That the PM still reckons he doesn’t have a woman in the party good enough to promote into her place is lamentable. I reckon he’s also wrong.

The Conservative Party’s elected women are a remarkable bunch with real substance – they should be presenting the PM with an embarrassment of promotable riches – but the bias in the party at the last election towards creating good constituency MPs at the expense of the executive has created a pool of talent with outspokenness and principle in abundance, loyalty and ambition in short supply.

That’s good for constituencies but fucking awful for the executive whose job must be appointing people of competence to positions of consequence.

Politics, red in tooth and claw is the reality for the PM today. He wanted to keep Maria Miller in position – she is obviously competent and capable, but her judgment in her dealing with IPSA was evidently flawed.

Truculence is the correct response to a stupid and incapable bureaucracy, but not if you’re in the cabinet.

The PM should take the opportunity to appoint at least two more women to the cabinet – this would disabuse backbenchers of the notion that they can be in Parliament without the risk of government and would send the message that there is no women problem in the Conservative Party.