Coffee House

More Tory MPs break cover on Miller

8 April 2014

Tory MPs now feel it’s acceptable to pile in on the Maria Miller row and offer their views. Mark Field has just told the World at One that her apology to the Commons was regarded as ‘unacceptably perfunctory’.

Zac Goldsmith said he was ‘surprised’ that she hadn’t resigned.

Claim your gift

Matthew Offord told the Commons that voters on the doorstep were exercised about the issue:

‘But knocking on doors my constituency this weekend, people did raise the expenses issue with me and they believe that nothing has changed.’

What happens next? As I wrote earlier, someone needs to be bold enough to raise this with the Prime Minister at tomorrow’s 1922 Committee meeting. But given MPs are already taking to the airwaves to distance themselves from Miller and to criticise her handling of the row, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find that backbencher. Chances are they will be from the 2010 intake.

The row will become dangerous if it moves from open criticism of Miller’s apology and her decision to stay in post (the PM’s spokesman continued to use a curious phrase, ‘the matter has simply not arisen’, in place of the word ‘no’ when asked today whether Miller had offered her resignation) to criticism of David Cameron’s handling of the matter. Currently MPs are focused on that ‘unacceptably perfunctory’ apology, rather than Cameron’s ‘warm support’ for his minister. If that changes, which it could do if he mis-judges the mood at the 1922 Committee meeting tomorrow, then this will become less about the danger to Miller and more about damage to the Prime Minister at a time when he’s just managing to get some of his most prominent critics back on board.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • swatnan

    Isn’t Zac the MP who said he’d stand down and parachute BoZo into the Commons, regardless of putting his constituents to the trouble going to the polls yet again.
    Maybe BoZo should go for Millare’s seat.

    • SilentHunter

      “BoZo” (as you put it) is not a woman . . . don’t be fooled by the flowing blonde locks.

      Cameron doesn’t want another man in his Cabinet; especially not one as dangerous to him as Boris.

      • swatnan

        Basingstoke, the most boring town in England, is only 30 mins from London, so BoZo could commute in quite easily from a second home there, just like thousands of other Londoners. I’m not suggesting he get a Cabinet job straight away, not until he’s toppled Dave in a coup.

        • SilentHunter

          I think we’re drifting into the realms of fantasy here, swatnan.

  • SilentHunter

    Well done Zac!

  • James Allen

    Why doesn’t the taxpayer simply buy a decent average house in each constituency for the use of the sitting MP? That way they don’t get to pocket the extra dosh from claiming for a second home????

  • jamesbarn
    • Agrippina

      Dave has forgotten all about his promises in 2009. He talks about it may be within the rules to have a portico built David Davis, pool cleaned Anstruther, but morally it was wrong and he expected the monies to be repaid. Seems to have forgotten that, where mardy miller is concerned.

      Why was it morally correct for her to increase her mortgage twice and increase the costs to us taxpayers.

      He felt bad for the voter dismissed for misappropriating £1.99 worth of goods but hasn’t applied it to miller.

  • jamesbarn
  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron talks the talk but fails to walk the walk. 1st failure, to tell Mrs Miller to step aside until the investigation is concluded. 2nd failure, to tell Mrs Miller to resign when the investigation went against her. 3rd failure, to tell Mrs Miller you are ‘fired’. Of course his failures started with the 2010 election when he failed to win an overall majority, one of his latest was Mr Hunt and Sky, also remember Dr Fox.

  • MirthaTidville

    Oh Please……out of the last 18 threads 12 have been about Miller…..come on Speccie get a grip..It might be a quiet news time but surely you can do better than this………utterley boring

    • McRobbie

      This is not just about miller..its about the abuse of power and flagrant fraud by our elected MPs (flipping houses when it suits to gain an expenses claim is fraud). It’s unacceptable and when a committee of likewise troughers ask for a fraction fof what millers taken from us tax payers its time the committee was shut down and independant policing put in place, with powers to criminalise MP’s fraud. Lets get a handle on abuse of expenses now. I normally vote tory..but whats the point of voting for any of these people or parties who then mock us in this way.

    • Kitty MLB

      Yes, its getting a bit tedious now. what more can you say,
      instead of repeating what you have been repeating.
      Mind you the picture of handsome Zac Goldsmith looking unsuitably dressed
      in a green field is an improvement on Maria Millers features.

    • SilentHunter

      Yes, let’s just let her sneak away to lick her wounds and then to return again to embezzle yet more money from the taxpayer.

      If you want this story to end . . . simple. . . tell her to repay the money and resign.

    • ButcombeMan

      No, this goes right to the very heart of what sort of country we are.

      The world is full of countries where the politicians are largely corrupt.

      The UK is not all that high on the Transparency International scale, not as high as we should be.

      • realfish

        ‘No, this goes right to the very heart of what sort of country we are’

        Quite – Where ignorant people sit at their keyboards, experts at nothing, self appointed guardians of our morals and the public purse sitting in judgement, hypocritical members of a mob.
        I wonder how many people have actually read the commissioners report? Not many judging by the number of inventions and made up ‘facts’ and opinions they share with us here.

        I think it was Matthew Parris (perhaps not?) who months back, reflecting on the downright abuse our elected representatives receive – not just over expenses but in every single aspect of their public and private lives, asked, Why would anyone want to put themselves through that to become an MP?’

        Miller hasn’t handled this well at all, but the response of the mob is unreasonable and out of all proportion to her ‘mistake’.

        It is a democratic necessity that, for better or worse, Cameron does not yield on this…and Miliband had better be careful that he does not seek to climb aboard the bandwagon.

        • ButcombeMan

          Sadly if you have to put “mistake” in inverted commas, both you, she and Cameron, have lost the point.

          I suggest you listen to Betty Boothroyd on PM at about 1745 (it will be available on line shortly).

          It is not about Cameron versus The Telegraph, it is about decency, honour and knowing right from wrong.

          • realfish

            Boothroyd is fundamentally wrong. She is confusing her ‘love for Parliament’ with democracy. Crikey even Tele can understand what is at stake here.
            Boothroyd’s passion would, by the way, have been more impactful if she hadn’t taken the opportunity to mention the ‘Tories’ – her tiny slip, so unbecoming.
            Which reminds me of where all of this started – with a barely disguised vexatious complaint from an outspoken Labour MP trying to score a political point – he and colleagues on the left, sore that they had seen their mates go down for fraud and they wanted to get a Tory. Sadly for them – on almost every account Miller was cleared. Miller, unlike MacShane and co, was not a fraudster

            • ButcombeMan

              If she did, FALSELY represent her main home as being in her various rented houses around Basingstoke.

              That is fraud.

              The Fraud Act covers it and replaces the old “obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception”.

              • realfish

                But she didn’t. Read the report.

                • ButcombeMan

                  I have and the Commissioner found that she should have nominated The London property as her main home.

                  The Commissioner did not find evidence that she did it fraudulently but then the Commissioner was frustrated by MM at almost every turn.

                  She does not come out of it well. She wriggles and squirms in the most unedifying way possible. Not behaviour we want from Cabinet Ministers.

                • realfish

                  ‘We agree with the Commissioner that Mrs Miller should properly have designated London as her main home rather than Basingstoke. Nonetheless, we consider that Mrs Miller’s designation was reasonable in the light of the guidance available at the time, given that the matter was finely balanced. Accordingly we make no criticism of Mrs Miller for her error and we will treat this case as if the designation of the London property for ACA purposes had been correct.’

                • ButcombeMan

                  Repeating the nonsense does not reduce the culpability of MM.

                  You need to stand back and THINK.

                  WHY, did she quite so deliberately select and champion, her various rented Basingstoke properties, as her main home? After all. her total rental was allowable. and it was very easy to claim for Basingstoke. What swung it for her?

                  It is very difficult not to conclude she was “gaming the system”. If that is so, her (and her staff’s) method of dealing with that, once discovered, is so crass as to be almost beyond belief, as is Cameron’s defense of that behaviour.

                  She is, in my view an absolute disgrace to public life..

                • realfish

                  All of the answers to your questions are in the report (appendix 1 – memorandum from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards).
                  I don’t doubt that in your view she is a disgrace to public life. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

      • MirthaTidville

        So you lot want upwards of 14 threads to discuss it on..ffs..yes we know they are troughers,we have discussed it stupid for the last few years but if you think all these threads are going to make an halfpenny of difference well continue on…I`ve got better things to do..oh yes and one other lot can piss and wind till the cows come home but miller aint going anywhere until someone throws her out and I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon

  • dado_trunking

    MP found claiming wrongly what she was not entitled to.
    Committee found investigating their own and selling out by heavily discounting.
    Rules again found to be inadequate, after repeated assurance that matters had been resolved.
    Electorate switch off or switch sides. Who is surprised when the root causes are never treated appropriately? Who would care about a Zac style ‘recall’ in this instance. Who cares about this pseudo waffle which addresses nothing?

  • Agrippina

    Zac try to get the power of recall pushed through, so that we can get rid of the troughers like mardy miller.

    Her husband the solicitor, who prob drafted that apology and made her practice it, so that it sounded ‘bold and bullish’ to appear strong, instead of arrogant.

    Commissioner’s findings are that she owes over £90k, that is what she should repay. Why did she increase the mortgage twice, thus increasing the costs to us taxpayers?

    Does her solicitor hubby not earn enough to pay for his own mortgage, or is he keen to make the most from the trough. I hope his clients scrutinise the bills he sends out.

    • yannix

      I understand that only £245k was the original mortgage taken in the 90’s, the other approx. £250k are LOANS, remortgages taken later. Where does it say that she is allowed to claim for LOANS?? How many are at it??

      • Agrippina

        Most of them I would say, are at it. My lardy lump lansley refurbished his home with Farrow&Ball paint, bought Laura Ashley sofas and more, flipped his home, sold it and made a tidy profit.

        As to hubby if it is the Iain I have been told about, he works as follows. As commercial dispute resolution sol & is a partner involved in litigation against public bodies and advises the Bar and Sol Reg Auth on issues of regulation and discipline (ha ha).

        He also advises the Bar Standard Board, the Architects Registration Board, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman.

        So lots of money from the taxpayer for him too.

      • realfish

        ‘Where does it say that she is allowed to claim for LOANS’

        In the ‘Green Book’

        • yannix

          You are confusing ‘loans’ with ‘mortgages’. Taking a loan out against a property, does not a mortgage make!!

          • realfish

            Am I? or are you? The additional ‘loans’ were re-mortgages – advances against the increased loan to valuation ratio of her home.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Dave has painted himself into a corner. He can only lose by keeping Ms Miller yet he cannot give into Labour’s call for her head. He should have sacked her when the facts became clear.

    • telemachus

      Parliament closes Thursday until 28/4
      Cameron will ride it out
      Even Speccie cannot keep up the volume of posts on this

      • realfish

        But the BBC will keep it alive, just as Newsnight did with Mitchell.

        • telemachus

          Remember the BBC have a Tory Chair as Chair
          And a Young Tory Chair as political editor

          • SilentHunter

            A Tory Chair as Chair?

            What does he sit on?

            . . . and is it precarious?

            • telemachus

              His position fostering Tory bias makes it so

      • McRobbie

        And the public will keep this going at the slightest opportunity..this is not about left or right, this is about the endemic abuse of power and our money by the MP troughers and it must stop.

        • telemachus

          No it is about abuse of power by the press trying to bully our elected Prime Minister after his reasoned judgement

          • Levinas

            No it’s not. I’ve been asking online and searching for information about the ‘Maria Miller case’ over the last 12 months during which time the media’s been neglecting to publish. Now the ruling’s out, the stories in the public sphere and she is rightly being pursued to explain herself, her boss is rightly being pursued to explain himself and the entire system, allegedly reformed many months ago to ensure abuses no longer occur, is once again under scrutiny as it is shown to be wide open to abuse. More than this those making use of the system are being shown to be self serving as ever. This is not bullying of a PM over reasoned judgement but electorate and media working in unison to express our disgust. Not surprising the PM who benefits from the system to the tune of mortgage interest payments for a £350k house he hardly needs seeing as he owns his own property, has access to two further properties by virtue of his job, but prescribes austerity for the masses, backs his minister. She stole far less than he continues to.

            • telemachus

              All very laudable
              In the grand scheme of things her crime was minor and she apologised
              She has now eaten humble pie in her local paper
              My concern is that the Telegraph door stepped her sick father and then used the issue to further deny regulation
              And now is trying to bully our elected PM
              Well it will not wash
              Parliament is about to break up long before Campbell’s ten days
              The DT will lose this one

          • Mynydd

            Prime Ministers are not elected. HM the Queen instructs, usually the leader of the largest party, to form a Cabinet to govern the country on her behalf.

      • SilentHunter

        You’d be surprised. Who would think that a petition to throw out a government minister would attract over 150,000 signatures in just 4 days.

        • telemachus

          And just where will that go, pray

          • SilentHunter


            • telemachus

              And then

              • SilentHunter

                Higher still?

                (BTW – how long do you want to keep playing this game? . . . only my Mum’s bound to call me in for my tea soon).

                • telemachus

                  When higher still
                  Who to give it to
                  Who cares about petitions

                • SilentHunter

                  I suspect Maria Miller does. LOL

      • ButcombeMan

        I all probability, she will be de-selected by her constituency party such is the anger.

        • telemachus

          So be it
          She has been stupid
          However this is now Cameron vs the Vampire Press

          • Levinas

            No, it’s Cameron vs the combined disgust of electorate and media. Out of touch today, out of office tomorrow. Roll on May 2015.

            • telemachus

              Cameron is almost there
              The Westminster village is off for a 2 week break
              Political journalists are eying the Mediterranean shores
              And Joe Public is off to Easter family matters

              • Levinas

                She’s gone but that nasty taste in the mouth she’s left behind will linger nicely for, what?, 12 months now, assisted by her continued presence on the benches and ownership of a £1.2 million property bought and paid for by profits acquired from the sale of a taxpayer funded property, all acquired as a by product of being a UK minister in addition to an excessive pay package. Scameron cannot without hypocrisy condemn her actions, we’re paying for his 4th home’s £350k mortgage. Some serious restructuring and reforms needed in that system but a parasitic coalition government to foist out of office first. 12 months.

          • Mynydd

            No it’s Cameron vs the rest.

    • WatTylersGhost

      “He should have sacked her when the facts became clear” yes, but isn’t it fun that he didn’t!
      Their contempt for the public is breathtaking.

    • realfish

      What facts?

  • kyalami

    The Peter Principle.

  • Colin

    Only a matter of time, now.

    The danger is that they use the spad’s threat on leveson as a reason to get rid of her (and / or the spad) to draw attention from the real issue, namely the expenses.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here