Labour minister accuses David Cameron of ‘double standards’ over Maria Miller scandal

Prime Minister had tried to draw a line under the scandal

Whitehall Editor

David Cameron has been accused of “totally unacceptable double standards” after he stood by a Cabinet minister found to have breached Parliamentary rules on the behaviour expected of MPs. 

The Prime Minister had tried to draw a line under the scandal over Maria Miller’s expense claims, saying the Culture Secretary “had apologised unreservedly”, and adding, “I think that we should leave it there”.

But a Labour MP referred Ms Miller to police for criminal investigation over her expense claims while the Party’s front-bench spokesman said Mr Cameron was just “looking after one of his own”.

“He should not offer ‘warm support’ to a cabinet minister criticised by a Parliamentary committee, but be making clear she should have co-operated fully with this inquiry,” said Chi Onwurah, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister. “We had a contemptuous 32-second response from a cabinet minister followed by a pat on the back from the Prime Minister. It is yet another example of how Cameron only looks after one of his own and stands up for the wrong people. His weakness and double standards on the issue  ... are totally unacceptable and completely out of touch.” 

Labour sources on the Standards Committee that investigated Ms Miller said there had been unanimity – including from the two independent members – that her expense claims had, in the main, been justifiable.

But they added that she was entirely responsible for the “right mess” she is in because she failed to co-operate with initial investigations by the Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson.

This led Ms Hudson to draw conclusions about Ms Miller’s  behaviour – which turned out to be incorrect when the Culture Secretary finally co-operated with the committee.

“By failing to co-operate in the first place she breached three of the principles for standards in public life – accountability, openness and leadership,” they said. “She took stupid, foolish advice not to co-operate ... and she’s only got herself to blame for the right mess that she’s in.”

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