Culture Secretary in hot water as she's ordered to repay £5,800 claim
|Maria Miller: Commons statement.|
This woman was originally ordered, by the "independent" Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, to pay back a total sum of £45,000.The Parliamentary Commissioner, can of course be over ruled by MP's should they consider the Commissioners findings or decisions to be in error or too harsh or as in this case, likely to be "difficult" for them personally, the next time that they themselves are again caught with their own fingers in the till .
Consequently, ranks are closed as some members, under the guise of the all party "Standards Committee" rush to the defence of Miller and reduce her "pay back punishment" from the recommended £45,000,to a mere £5,800. This figure is of course set against an original £90,000 wrongly claimed mortgage expenses which the Culture Secretary had submitted for property designated as her second home and where her parents lived.
There are those who may consider that even a sum of £45,000 is too small a "punishment" for expense claim abuse, albeit that the Standards Committee cleared her of fiddling her expenses, commenting that "the judgement was finely balanced and considered she had acted reasonably in the light of the guidance available at the time”.
In response to a damning report which accused her of trying to thwart an investigation into her parliamentary expenses claims, Miller offered an apology to the House. It seems that every memo, request for information, question, or any other form of communication that Miller received from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, was immediately sent to her solicitors for consideration, response and inevitable delay.
Her apology for her delaying tactics can at best be described as succinct, and dismissing in less than 40 seconds, the original allegations of expense irregularities, and then in acknowledging the role of the Standards Committee in her "acquittal" states that she "accepts the recommendations of the committee" and thanks them "for bringing this matter to an end".
Her whole demeanor during this "statement" particularly toward Labour MP John Mann who made the initial complaint about her claims, was one of defiance, and it seemed, indignation that she should have even been put in the situation of having to explain her actions in the first place.
It has been suggested that Miller only retains her role in cabinet because she is a woman and Cameron needs to at least be seen to be trying to maintain a gender balance around the table.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to suggest that Cameron prefers to surround himself and fill his cabinet, with arrogant people, people dismissive of any criticism, prepared to operate at the margins of proper behaviour and who show nothing but contempt for the people of this country, the tax payers, any form of regulatory body (especially when it comes to their own activities and expenses) and people without shame or principle.
Miller is only trying to fill that model.