Coffee House

Will Maria Miller become a victim of the ten-day rule?

6 April 2014

Today’s newspapers do not make happy reading for Maria Miller – or David Cameron. After informing the press that it was ‘time to draw a line’ under Miller’s expenses, he ought to have known what to expect. The Sunday Times splashes with ‘MPs can’t be trusted on expenses’ while the Sunday Telegraph quotes an anonymous minister saying ‘Maria must go’. The Mail on Sunday has commissioned some polling, to the effect that 80 per cent of the public want her out of the cabinet. According to the Survation polling, 82 per cent of Conservative voters want her to be sacked, while two thirds of Tories think she should resign from Parliament:

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Senior Tories have been doing the broadcast rounds this morning to offer their opinions. Iain Duncan Smith backed more independent regulation of MPs on the Andrew Marr Show while defending the beleaguered minister ‘I am supportive of Maria because if we are not careful we end up with a witch-hunt of somebody’. In other words: yes, she’s bad and wrong but if we sack her now, the press will scent blood and come back for somebody else.

But do we hear ministers going wobbly? Tory chairman Grant Shapps failed four times to back Miller when asked by John Pienaar on Radio 5 Live. ‘Ultimately this is a matter for him and for Maria and the PM’ said Shapps.

The attacks are still coming in. Former Tory culture secretary David Mellor told Sky News ‘She won’t be missed if she goes and she won’t be noticed if she stays.’ On the Sunday Politics, an anonymous Conservative MP told the programme:

‘She handled this appallingly. Downing Street has acted like judge and jury. For Craig Oliver to get involved is disastrous. She’s been protected by the Whips from the start.

‘George Young is in cahoots as he used to be head of the standards committee. He’s been leaning on the committee to find her innocent. The standards committee is unfit for purpose’

Whether Miller hangs on to her job or not will come back (once again) to Alastair Campbell’s ten day rule — if you’re on the front pages of newspapers for 10 days, then you’ve had it. Tomorrow is day ten. And judging by day nine, things are not looking too good for her.

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Show comments
  • Peter Stroud

    She could lose Basingstoke to Labour if she stands. So Labour should support her

  • CharlietheChump

    Profit on an MP’s second home belongs solely to the tax payer. A separate fund should be created to fund second homes – which will always have to exist given the Westminster/Constituency responsibility – and all profits should return to the fund. In fact there is no reason an MP should own their second home at all, it is clearly a public asset.

    • Jimble

      Excellent idea, but should only be the case for MPs that don’t live in commutable distance – that distance being the same that job-seekers are advised they must be willing to travel for work, i.e. 90 mins.

  • Robertus Maximus

    The third option, namely PRISON, seems to be missing from your graphs.

  • McRobbie

    The argument over miller should be a non political one..its not so much that she scammed us out of money by using the expenses “rules”, its as much that a committee of her peers consisting of representatives of all parties (those who also like to use the expenses “rules” to their advantage) actually allowed her to keep just about all the money she scammed off us. I am very much a tory, but this is just not acceptable..we are back in the game of parliamentary fiddling. They should declare at the outset which is their main home and that is that…no change allowed…and we should not be paying for improvements to second homes that increase the value if we dont also get some return from that “investment” when sold. Its an expenses scam no better that all the disgraceful abuse previously exposed. Miller must go and the committee of self servers disbanded..let the inland revenue investigate all expenses claims from elected members.

  • Tom Tom

    Maria Miller should front the Euro election Campaign for the Conservatives

  • CO Jones

    Where is Lynton Crosby in all this? Isn’t he being paid a small fortune to advise Cameron, among other things, how not to get involved in this sort of bad publicity?

  • realfish

    The ‘Ten Day Rule’ is dead and gone. Our friends at the BBC saw to that over the ‘Plebgate’ affair, keeping pressure on Mitchell long after others in the MSM had lost interest, until he had no choice but to go.

    Miller will suffer the same fate.

  • Bonkim

    This MP should have had the brains to know when her time was up.

    • madasafish

      Your comment assumes she has some.

  • Pitkapoika

    A real dilemma. Miller has done nothing that scores of others have done without sanction. We are talking of a property bought years before she became an MP, and she was following the expenses rules. The rules changed but she didn’t amend her claim. Her problem is her job. She is responsible for implementing the Leveson Legacy, and thus the Number One Enemy of the vicious British Press Pack.over

    • ButcombeMan

      Was she? Really? Misrepresenting a weekend cottage as her main home?

      Quite deliberately massively upping her mortgage on her real main home and then upping her claim against the tax payer?

      Offensively being very difficult and bullying with those tasked with investigating such things?

      Threatening, directly or through her proxy.

      Wriggling when asked to pay back her ill gotten gains?

      Giving a half baked, obviously deeply resented, HoC “apology”

      There is no dilemma at all. A Civil Servant who acted thus would be fired and would deserve it.

      If she is not gone by tomorrow night I will be very surprised.

      Every minute she stays is damning Cameron and the Tory party and giving ammunition to those who oppose them.

      • Pitkapoika

        …….according to the Daily Telegraph !

        • DrCoxon


          ’66. Much of the delay and difficulty in this case has arisen from incomplete documentation and fragmentary information. Mrs Miller has to carry significant responsibility for that. She should have attempted to provide the explanation and documentation requested by the Commissioner to the Commissioner at the outset rather than requiring us to seek the information directly. We recognise that Mrs Miller may put procedural points to the Commissioner and the Committee but we regret that she did not also provide the Commissioner with the substantive information and supporting documentation she required.


          67. We are concerned that Mrs Miller did not pay as close attention to the rules of the House as she should have done. As we have seen, after her election she increased the facility on her mortgage on at least two occasions without consulting the House, despite the fact that in both the 2005 and 2006 Green Book the advice given to those who wished to change their mortgage was: “Please consult us in advance. There are strict rules on the costs that can be claimed, and you may need to change the nomination of your main home”.

  • The_greyhound

    “if we are not careful we end up with a witch-hunt of somebody” says IDS.

    It’s not about witches.

    It’s about thieves. And Mrs Miller is still in the dock on the latter count.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      No, let’s stick with the witches. We’re still allowed to burn them, aren’t we?

  • James

    One less female cabinet minister leaves him wide open.

    Snouts down ladies.

  • Kitty MLB

    I am constantly dumbfounded by Cameron’s misjudgements
    and this is another example of him backing the wrong people.
    Some have compared this to the Mr Mitchell debacle when
    the press and others were baying for blood, its not he was innocent.
    I would also like to say that Labour are in no position to
    offer an opinion, they are miscreants, and crooks,
    the expenses scandal most of those were Labour.
    And I am sure that Ed Milibland would not like us to
    be reminded of the grubbyness of his clean sheet
    of paper.

    • Alexsandr

      well he still has paepohile apologists, the Dromeys, in his team. Its all blown over rather nicely for them hasnt it. And Hewitt is still on the BT board

      • DavidL

        Hasn’t quite blown over yet.Today’s Telegraph has an article reminding us that when Margaret Hodge was running Islington, some of its children’s homes were essentially child brothels, and evidence against Council workers and others suspected of vile paedophile abuse was destroyed. This isn’t going away.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Hewitt has finally had the grace to resign from the BT board, though it was a while in coming. The Mail kept the sordid saga going very professionally and for more than the 10-day rule (!) Let’s sincerely hope harridan and husband have not escaped, after all this has been hanging around on the Internet for about 15 years, they must have been alerted to all the accusations ages ago. What is also remarkable is the transformation of Margaret Hodge from allegedly culpable evil witch in the Islington children’s homes disgrace into the media’s favourite parliamentary committee chairman.

  • ButcombeMan

    This is now no longer about Maria Miller, it is about yet another monumental misjudgement by Cameron.

    The public wanted indeed really needed to believe, he meant what he said about cleaning the stable. He has been tested and has not even got the shovel or brush in his hand.

    Can you imagine his anxious conspiratorial phone calls this morning with MM, No doubt trying to figure out if he can get away with his strategy?

    Strategy might be too glorious a term for it.

    Cameron has once again damaged politics and politicians in the eyes of the public. The nation deserves better. This is third world stuff.

    MM is as an absolute disgrace, she acts as if she does not know what she did wrong and no one is entitled to question her. Her so called apology was offensive. She is absolutely finished, she should resign forthwith before her presence causes Cameron and her party, any more harm.

  • SilentHunter

    (IDS) ‘I am supportive of Maria because if we are not careful we end up with a witch-hunt of somebody’. In other words: yes, she’s bad and wrong but if we sack her now, the press will scent blood and come back for somebody else.

    A wonderfully concise summation of why MP’s want to “mark their own homework” and why we, the electorate, shouldn’t allow them to.

    It would appear that MP’s have learned nothing from the expenses scandal and are indulging in the same old corrupt practices that they did previously in the mistaken belief that the electorate have short memory’s.

    • Alexsandr

      well we know they are still at it. Nadhim Zahawi was caught with his hand in the till over his electric bills. And he was new intake in 2010. He is a good successor for Profumo

      • SilentHunter

        Haven’t we met before on the blogs? Was it the Guardian a long time ago?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    And why do we even need a department of culture, media and sport? What would we miss if it were not there? The all-pervading influence on things that government ought to have nothing to do with?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    In journalism, when you are not the first to think of some smart headline such as relating the story to a popular song, it is best to forgo the temptation to use it lest you seem to be unoriginal.

  • Harold Angryperson

    What has been really instructive in all this has been the support for her from left-leaning bloggers and commenters both here and on other sites such as Clearly they see her as part of “The Project”…

  • Mike Purves

    Her ‘apology’, brief and bitter, was directed at the wrong people, her fellow MP’s.
    It was £44,000 of our money she helped herself to, and to us, the public, her apology should have been directed.

    • Bluesman_1

      Bang on citizen and that is why Miller is a thief.

    • dado_trunking

      Someone at some point will have to explain how £44,000 is not the sum requested to be paid back, given that every single reputable news outlet keeps on reporting that this was the sum that was ‘wrongly claimed’.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …well, you Levesonistas are determined it will never hit print. That’s your whole point… censorship, lad.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …how’s the goat, btw?

  • swatnan

    She won’t be able to tough it out for a year, so to avoid further embararrasment to the Party she’ll step down and collect her Cabinet pension and the other golden handshakes. I should imagine Dave will bring Mitchell back even though there are quite a few capable women around to pick from. Its only Culture Media and Sport.

    • Wessex Man

      It doesn’t matter that it’s only Culture Media and Sport, what matters is it’s the same old sleaze that’s Call me Dave was going to crush, he’s shown himself and cabinet to be as bad as Blair and his!

      VOTE UKip!

      • SilentHunter

        This would be UKIP with Neil Hamilton as one of their prospective candidates?

        • swatnan

          Would that be the same Neil Hamilton that took backhanders in brown envelopes from lobbyists? And the same UKIP whose membership consists largely of fruitcases jingoists and geriatrics? i’m gobsmacked!

          • SilentHunter

            Do you know? I think it could be! :o)

            How shocking! I wonder if all those good folk telling us that UKIP are the antidote to “expenses fiddling politicians” know about this?

            Shirley they must? ;o)

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Yes, they know all about him, unlike all the many LibLabCon clones who are stealing the People blind from the shadows.

  • BigAl

    Why does a basic rate tax payer have to contribute towards paying for a MP to get a second home which then delivers a huge profit? The profit is not taxed as it is deemed a primary residence but is used to buy a large house in the country.

    No wonder 80% of people want her fired! By all means provide an allowance to pay for a hotel while in London but paying towards a mortgage on a second home is ridiculous.

    • southerner

      I have a feeling Cameron is reluctant to act because it exposes the greed he displayed when buying his own second home at our expense. Always within the rules of course. Always to the maximum permissible.

      • Gary Morris

        Cameron is in big trouble over this. It could cost him the election.

    • telemachus

      Sancimonious pap
      There but for the grace of god go many
      Her misdemeanors predate the rule change and Kathryn Hudson knew that before winding this up
      Sadly it has given the Telegraph and Sister Magazine the excuse to once again stick the knife in to legitimate instructions from Leveson to get their house in order
      We are spending millions at the Old Bailey because previous attempts failed

      • Harold Angryperson

        See my comment below. She, like nearly all the others, is thieving scum who should be facing criminal charges. You are only defending her because you see her as one of you, namely a Harmanesque illiberal stooge, an ambitious dud promoted way above her abilities just like Jacqui Smith.

        Such individuals inevitably will do absolutely anything to further their careers, no piece of illiberal legislative junk is beyond the pale for them and they push it ruthlessly.

        • telemachus

          I read your other diatribe
          You have it wrong

          • HenryWood

            “We do not defend Miller […]”

            Who is “we”, please?

            • telemachus

              The reasonable faction that decries the Press Barons and their attempt to intimidate

              • Alexsandr

                a but jumbled but i got your drift. But why would you want incompetent bent politicians like jaqui smith to stand as judge jury and executioner over the press would you?

                • telemachus

                  I do not
                  Parliament should have nothing to do with it
                  The judiciary with adequate sanction is best

                  Meantime we could put MacGregor in the stocks

                • sarah_13

                  Of course, matrix chambers counsel perhaps, most adequate and right thinking they are too.

              • Colonel Mustard

                You are no more reasonable than a rattlesnake.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …except if the snake bites, it eventually runs out of venom, unlike that muppet.

          • Alexsandr

            so you want scum like miller to have sanctions against the press do you. Politicians and journos are the most disreputable occupations. But having politicians in control of the press would mean we would not have anyone to hold the political class to account.
            but then you would like that. the lefties think they know best and any dissent is bad and should be supressed.

            • telemachus

              I want scum like Miller to resign
              But We need to see the intimidating press reigned in
              Yes even Rusbridger

              • Alexsandr

                if you dont like the press, dont buy their papers. Its quite simple really.

                • telemachus

                  I spend a lot of money on sheet newspapers and devour them
                  The point being that Incontrol that
                  When a respectable broadsheet doorsteps a sick old man then heads need to roll

              • anyfool

                Do you want these scum resign,

                Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years, gaining vastly more money than that amateur trougher Miller.
                Balls attempted to claim £33 for poppy wreaths he had laid at his constituency ceremony, that is a real scummy act, he is filth.

                • telemachus

                  Stick to the issue
                  The current issue is a Minister who not only infringed the rules but then tried to gag the sufficient investigators
                  Compounded by a sanctimonious press trying to use the issue to thwart Leveson

                • anyfool

                  Every time you mention this slimy creature and his equally obnoxious wife, I will mention this as a counterpoint

                • anyfool


              • sarah_13

                And who is the arbiter of all of this sir. You? Hacked off? No one is being intimidated, mps are being held accountable and right wing journalists have as much right as anyone else to work. You may not like it but then thats why we have a free press because you may be wrong, believe it or not!

                • telemachus

                  My taxes paid for an exhaustive inquiry after the hacking debacles of the unrestrained press
                  The DT and even this journal chose to thumb their noses

          • DrCoxon

            The address was for a house understood to be that of Mrs Miller and exclusively for parliamentary work.
            How is a journalist supposed to know when knocking on a door that a parent will emerge?
            Brilliant. Every MP will live with aged folk and send them to the door. Doorstepping. End of journalistic enquiry.

      • MalcolmRedfellow

        “Kathryn Hudson … winding this up”?

        There’s been some bizarre twaddling going on over this, but that vibes high on the crapometer. I doubt if more than the odd demi-semi-percentage of the electorate could recognise the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, even with a strong pointer.

        The Commissioner is obliged to pursue certain lines. She did. No ‘winding up”. Her findings stand, even though the Committee applied verbal homeopathy.

        • telemachus

          The winding up,that is heinous I agree is that of the Telegraph and it’s anti regulatory agenda

          • Colonel Mustard

            The only wind up is yours, here.

        • Kitty MLB

          I know you. The crusty old fellow, wandering around in
          poisonous miasma, caused by the leftie suffocating Dickensian gloom.
          You do seem to be enjoying yourself. Yet I suppose as
          a Labour dobbin, you are very used to this type of situation,
          an expert I am sure.

    • Pootles

      A hotel ? Why not a barracks for MPs who really are too far to commute to the Commons? It would solve lots of problems, from security to a basic, decent place to kip – a sort of state Premier Inn.

      • GnosticBrian

        Wormwood Scrubs has space enough to accommodate members of both houses.

    • ButcombeMan

      Dear prime minister,

      The last few days have been very difficult and distressing
      for me, and I have been thinking carefully about what action I should
      take in the interests of the government, my constituents and the wider public.

      I am grateful for the strong support which I have received
      from my friends, colleagues, family, and especially from you,

      This support has been incredibly important, but nonetheless, I
      have decided that it is right to tender my resignation

      I cannot escape the conclusion that what I have done was wrong and has brought difficulties to the Government.,

      I want to apologise to my constituents and the public for falling below the standards that they were entitled to expect from me.

      etc etc
      Continued Page 94

    • Gary Morris

      There isn’t anyone who could disagree with this.

  • southerner

    IDS : ‘I am supportive of Maria because if we are not careful we end up with a witch-hunt of somebody’.

    That’s an argument for dropping it is it?

    I wonder if, in quiet moments, whether they all sit round the Cabinet table playing hunt the backbone?

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