Maria Miller expenses row: Cameron continues to back Culture Secretary

The Prime Minister said the Culture Secretary had recognised her mistakes

Prime Minister David Cameron has again defended his embattled Culture Secretary after MPs overruled a damning independent report into her expenses.

Cameron insisted that the issue should be “left” after the cross-party Standards Committee ordered Maria Miller to apologise and hand back £5,800 in overclaimed accommodation allowances – nearly £40,000 less than that recommended by Parliament’s standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson.

Speaking on a visit to Devon, Mr Cameron said: “What happened yesterday is that Maria Miller was actually cleared of the original charge made against her.

"It was found she had made mistakes, she accepted that, repaid the money, she apologised unreservedly to the House of Commons so I think that we should leave it there."

Mrs Miller has been condemned for making a "contemptuous" 32-second personal apology for her "legalistic" approach to the inquiry into her expenses on the floor of the House on Thursday.

She is thought to be the first minister to make such a statement to the Commons without resigning.

Letters published with the committee's report have revealed that the MP repeatedly attempted to close the investigation down, arguing that Ms Hudson was going beyond her original remit by asking for details of mortgage arrangements.

Ms Hudson accused the culture secretary of “misrepresenting” her investigation in an attempt to discredit it.

The controversy centres on more than £90,000 of claims by Mrs Miller over four years for the London property which she designated as her second home and where her parents lived.

The committee cleared her of fiddling her expenses, but instructed her to repay £5,800 that she had inadvertently overclaimed because her invoices to the taxpayer failed to reflect cuts in interest rates.

The investigation began with the disclosure that Mrs Miller designated cottages which she rented in her constituency of Basingstoke, Hants, as her main residence and claimed expenses on her London property where her parents also lived.

The committee ruled that Mrs Miller should have nominated her house in the capital as her main home because she spent most nights there.

But it admitted that the judgement was “finely balanced” and considered she had acted reasonably in the light of the “guidance available at the time”.

It cleared her of breaking the rules on expenses by moving her parents into her family home, which had been the key charge against her.

In her statement to the Commons, Mrs Miller stressed the allegation that the taxpayer funded her parents' living costs had been “dismissed”.

She said: “The committee did recommend that I apologise to the House for my attitude to the commissioner's inquiry and I of course unreservedly apologise.

“I fully accept the recommendations of the committee and thank them for bringing this matter to an end.”

But a number of MPs called for Ms Miller’s resignation. Labour MP John Mann said her apology showed a lack of respect to the public, MPs and the committee.

And a Conservative backbencher said: “Anyone close to Cameron or around him is given protection in a way that others aren't.

“Back in 2009 at the height of the expenses crisis, Cameron was only too happy to throw people to the wolves.”

Cameron had previosuly said that the matter was closed.

Additional reporting by Press Association

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Creche Assistant or Nursery Nurse

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...

Nursery Nurse Level 3

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Nursery Nurse Leeds We are now ...

Web Developer/UI Developer (HTML5, CSS3,Jquery) London

£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering