Maria Miller: Under-fire Culture Secretary faces new questions over expenses
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister David Cameron to sack Mrs Miller
Monday 07 April 2014
Calls for Culture Secretary Maria Miller to resign have maintained pace, amid reports that she stopped claiming a second home allowance after she was asked to confirm that she would pay tax when the property was sold.
By re-designating the house she shared with her parents in Wimbledon, south London, as her main residence, she would not have to pay capital gains tax when it was sold for a reported £1 million profit earlier this year, the Telegraph reported. The tax is levied at 28 per cent on profits made on the sale of second homes.
A spokesman for Mrs Miller denied that she had changed her second home designation in order to avoid having to sign the declaration, pointing out that the first of three letters from parliamentary authorities was not sent until May 2009, and she stopped claiming all accommodation allowances in April that year.
Following the expenses scandal, Mrs Miller did not claim second home expenses on any property, said the spokesman.
"It is well documented that Maria stopped claiming any accommodation allowance at all in April 2009.
"The sale of the Wimbledon property in February falls in a tax year that has not yet been assessed. She will of course deal with the matter in accordance with HM Revenue and Customs rules and pay any tax that is due," he said.
Read more: Another loss of trust is bad news for politics
'Hackers' insult Miller on her department's Twitter account
The comments came as members from parties including the Conservatives urged Prime Minister David Cameron to sack Mrs Miller, whose apology to the House of Commons last Thursday has failed to lessen the spotlight on the Minister and draw a line under the expenses issue.
Lord Tebbit, former Conservative chairman, became the most senior Conservative to call for her to resign or be fired.
In an piece for the Telegraph website, he branded the way she has handled the scandal “arrogant” and accused her of reviving anger over the MP’s expense scandal.
"The best way out of this is for Mrs Miller to resign," he wrote.
Meanwhile, a Conservative member of the Commons Standards Committee which told Mrs Miller to apologise, rejected calls for MPs to be stripped of the power to police their own behaviour.
The committee overruled independent standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson, finding that Mrs Miller should repay £5,800 in overclaimed expenses rather than the £45,000 recommended by the watchdog.
Expenses watchdog Sir Ian Kennedy, chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, said it was time for MPs to stop “marking their own homework” and give Ms Hudson the final say in standards investigations.
But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, Standards Committee member Geoffrey Cox warned that handing the right to sanction MPs to an external regulator could raise constitutional issues, as the watchdog could have the power to change the shape of a government - particularly in times of a narrow majority - by handing down a lengthy suspension or even expulsion from the Commons.
Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show that Mrs Miller was the victim of a backlash for being the Minister responsible for the same-sex marriage Bill, which was deeply unpopular with many grassroots Tories.
Despite being defended by the Prime Minister and the Work and Pensions Secretary, 78 per cent of voters believe Mrs Miller should forfeit her Cabinet post, while 68 per cent said she should be sacked as MP for Basingstoke, according to a poll by Survation for the Mail on Sunday.
82 per cent of the 1,001 people questioned on 4 April identified as Tory supporters, but still thought she should be removed as Culture Secretary.
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...