Culture secretary Maria Miller resigns after expenses row
MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller has resigned from her position as culture secretary after being at the centre of a political storm regarding her fraudulent expenses claims.
In a TV interview by the BBC Miller said: “I take full responsibility for my decision to resign, I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Few claim that she blamed the media’s attack on her as a backlash for her part in press regulation, as her resignation letter stated: “Of course, implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson on the future of media regulation, following the phone hacking scandals, would always be controversial for the press.”
However, she denied this when asked if she believed there had been a media “witch hunt”.
Miller said: “No. I fully accept the findings in the Parliamentary Standards Report. This is about that.”
She was cleared of the central accusation of using taxpayers’ money to fund a home for her parents but was ordered to repay just £5,800 of the total expenses she claimed.
The independent parliamentary commissioner for standards had previously recommended that she repay £45,000 but the lower sum was approved by the Commons Standards Committee, which has the final say to accept or reject the commissioner’s recommendations.
Despite being cleared, the Committee was unhappy with her “attitude” towards the independent parliamentary commissioner’s enquiries and she was ordered to make an apology in the House of Commons.
Miller apologised, but was heavily criticised for the brevity of the statement she made that lasted just 34 seconds.
A poll carried out by the Mail on Sunday found that 73% of people felt her apology was inadequate, whilst 78% felt she should be sacked from the cabinet. Additionally, 68% thought she should be stripped of her title as MP.
Labour MP John Mann, whose accusation against Miller sparked the row that eventually led to her resignation, welcomed her decision. John said: “My reaction is it’s about time too… Maria Miller should have resigned immediately and when she didn’t resign, David Cameron should have shown a bit of leadership and he should have sacked her.”