Maria Miller apologises to MPs after expense claim probe
Culture Secretary is rebuked and fined for failing to co-operate with expenses inquiry
CULTURE Secretary Maria Miller has been ordered to repay £5,800 and forced to apologise to MPs for failing to fully co-operate with an inquiry into her expense claims.
Miller was rebuked by the Commons Committee on Standards in what the London Evening Standard calls a "scathing report", but was cleared of the central charge of deliberately submitting expenses claims to which she was not entitled. However, the minister was instructed to make a "humiliating apology" to MPs for her attitude to the inquiry.
The committee suggested that Miller should "apologise by personal statement on the floor of the House for her attitude to the Commissioner's inquiries". And Miller today issued an "unreserved" apology in a 32-second address to the House of Commons.
"The committee has recommended that I apologise to the house for my attitude towards the commissioner's inquiry and I, of course, unreservedly apologise," she said.
As interest rates fell after the 2008 financial crisis, Miller failed to reduce the expense claims covering her mortgage. The figure of £5,800 aims to cover those erroneous claims.
Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement saying that he had offered the MP for Basingstoke his "warm support".
He said: "Maria Miller is doing an excellent job as culture secretary and will continue to do that.
"If we look at this report, yes of course these issues do matter – but she was cleared of the original allegation made against her. An over-payment was found which she is going to pay back. She'll make a full apology, and I think people should leave it at that."
Labour MP John Mann responded that Miller should resign immediately. Mann, whose complaint sparked the standards inquiry, said: "Given David Cameron's strong statements on ‘cleaning up expenses’ in the past, he will be accused of hypocrisy if he does not sack Maria Miller today."