UK & World News
Maria Miller: Expenses Probe Is Launched
Parliament's sleaze watchdog is to investigate expense claims made by Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
John Lyon, Parliament's Commissioner for Standards, will look at a complaint about the senior Tory minister's second home allowances.
The decision to investigate follows revelations that Mrs Miller claimed more than £90,000 for the cost of a house her parents had apparently been living in.
She received £90,718 between 2005 and 2009 - almost the maximum allowed - for mortgage payments, bills and other costs at the property in south London.
Labour MP John Mann filed a complaint earlier this week, arguing the arrangement was "identical" to that of ex-Labour minister Tony McNulty.
Mr McNulty had to pay back more than £13,000 in expenses in 2009 because they were spent on a second home occupied by his parents.
The Commissioner ruled in that case the MP had effectively "subsidised" his relatives from the public purse, allowing them to live rent free.
Mrs Miller insisted on Sky News earlier this week that her claims were "absolutely as they should be".
A spokesman added on Thursday: "Mrs Miller's expenses have been audited twice and found to be wholly proper and above board.
"Any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue. She would fully co-operate with any inquiry."
David Cameron insisted Mrs Miller did an "absolutely excellent job" as Culture Secretary and declared she has his full support.
"A newspaper has asked her a number of questions. As far as I can see she has excellent answers to all those questions and I am sure she will answer them and get on with her job, which is what she should do," he said.
The minister's claims were originally revealed by The Daily Telegraph, sparking a row with the Government amid claims aides had tried to suppress the story.
Mr Cameron's head of communications Craig Oliver and Mrs Miller's special adviser Joanna Hindley have been accused of using the Leveson report to put pressure on the newspaper.
The Telegraph claims Ms Hindley referred to the report, apparently in an attempt to threaten them, when she was called for a response to the expenses revelations.
Mr Oliver then also mentioned the issue in a telephone call to the newspaper's editor - reportedly saying "she is looking at Leveson at the moment".
Number 10 has insisted Mr Oliver was only highlighting concerns about how the paper pursued the story because it had spoken to the minister's elderly father.
Mrs Miller has since insisted the affair has nothing to do with the Leveson report. "My concern is that any investigation is done in accordance with the rules, the Editors' Code," she said.
The Telegraph said it had lifted the lid on the conversations behind the scenes to show the risk of politicians being involved in how the press is regulated.
:: Further cross-party talks on press regulation on Thursday broke up without agreement amid continued divisions over the need for a system backed by law.
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what do you think?
Still in the trough!! Always will be until we rip it from under them FFS!!!
Sorry Bud, Lib/Lab/Cons have carte blanche to do as they please.
Windows Live User
Funny how he has got us all at each others throats. We dont seem to mind the amount of money being creamed off the top but mention some poor disabled person getting a couple of quid rise and we are all like rabid dogs
Are we still all in it together with that no back bone David caMORON
Windows Live User
Do you think He was ever in it with us all? I dont believe a word he says to us
WLU - How can you tell when a politician is liying? Ans - the lungs move!
Windows Live User
90k some load that is. Most people whinge about seeing a small rise being given to the disabled benefit 5.12% of not very much is not very much either Capped at 1% now that will make you happy wont it, while Cameron gives away 12.6bn to overseas in aid
Yeah and the energy watchdogs let energy companies put up prices by over 8% and do nothing - what we paying them for? Country run by bunch of greedy mp's who are in it for what they can get
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
Parliamentary commissioner investigating? Hmmm something wrong there. They should be facing a prison sentence for fraud!!
We should choose governments like we choose juries, then we might get some honest people with brains running the country.
Why don't they stop expenses no one in other jobs get them for things these greedy lot claim for and they get it all tax free its disgusting nothing but a load of leeches feeding from the country
Its about time the biggest scam of all , second home allowance, was ended. The government should make a one off investment and build " Dorm" style accommadation for use by MPs who live outside a reasonable commuting distance from Westminster.