Despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s calls to “leave it”, the expenses row surrounding Maria Miller has rumbled on –and on Saturday evening rogue tweets posted on an official government Twitter feed poked fun at the embattled Culture Secretary.
The three tweets sent from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s account were quickly deleted, but not before they had been shared across social media platforms.
The first tweet posted on the @DCMS feed said: “Seriously though guys which one of us hasn't embezzled and cheated the taxpayer? #FreeMariaMiller.”
The cross-party Standards Committee has ordered Mrs Miller to repay £5,800 in overclaimed accommodation allowances – a figure nearly £40,000 less than that recommended by Parliament’s standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson.
The second tweet appeared to question the decision, comparing the MP to “a modern day Robin Hood”, who “robs the poor to help the rich".
And the final tweet said: "Is @Maria_MillerMP guilty? We will let the public decide."
Mrs Miller made a 32-second apology to the Commons earlier this week for failing to co-operate with the 15-month investigation into her expenses.
Amid calls for her resignation, Cameron has stood by his Culture Secretary: “Maria Miller was actually cleared of the original charge made against her,” he said.
"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."
But a poll for the Mail on Sunday found that 73 per cent of voters thought Mrs Miller's apology was inadequate.
78 per cent of respondents said Mrs Miller should forfeit her Cabinet post as Culture Secretary, 66 per cent said she should lose powers over press regulation and 68 per cent said she should be “sacked” as an MP.
A spokeswoman from the DCMS confirmed the account had been hacked but said they had "absolutely no idea" who was responsible.
She said they will be investigating.
The Twitter account says its tweets come "from the digital comms team".