Monday 19 February 2018

Maria Miller expenses row a 'media witch hunt'

Britain's Minister for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller leaves 10 Downing Street after a cabinet meeting in central London yesterday.
Britain's Minister for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller leaves 10 Downing Street after a cabinet meeting in central London yesterday.

Maria Miller has been the victim of a media "witch hunt" because of her role in implementing the Leveson report on newspaper standards, allies of the beleaguered Culture Secretary have claimed.

Amid growing turmoil within Conservative ranks over British Prime Minister David Cameron's refusal to sack Mrs Miller over her parliamentary expenses, her supporters claimed she was being deliberately targeted by the press.

Mrs Miller's parliamentary aide Mary MacLeod sought to rally support, texting fellow MPs claiming there was a "media witch hunt on Maria due to Leveson".

"In some of the newspapers it has been like a witch hunt where they don't like the work that Maria has done on Leveson and gay marriage," Ms MacLeod told 'Sky News'.

In an article for local paper the 'Basingstoke Gazette', Mrs Miller again insisted that the committee had dismissed "all allegations against me".

But she made no reference to independent standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson – who recommended she repay £45,000 (€55,000) but was overruled by the cross-party group of MPs, which reduced the sum to £5,800.

"Separately, I have already apologised and repaid an over-claim of my expenses, having myself drawn the committee's attention to the matter," Mrs Miller wrote.

The minister is looking increasingly isolated, with Mr Cameron likely to face questions on the row in the Commons.

Former Commons speaker Baroness Boothroyd said Mrs Miller should quit "as a matter of honour" because of the damage she had done to Parliament.

"She is bringing Parliament into disrepute," Lady Boothroyd said. (© PA)

Press Association

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