Maria Miller’s apology today to the House of Commons over her attitude to the investigation into her expenses was short, 32 seconds. But it was not sweet. Rather, it was bitter.
‘I wish to make a personal statement in relation to today’s report. The report resulted from an allegation made by the member for Bassetlaw. The committee has dismissed his allegation. The committee has recommended that I apologise to the House for my attitude to the Commissioner’s inquiries, and I of course unreservedly apologise. I fully accept the recommendations of the Committee, and thank them for bringing this matter to an end.’
Miller’s tone and demeanour suggested that she thought she had little to apologise for. It was an apology as grudging as her cooperation with the investigation.
The presence of the Chief Whip to the side of her and another whip on the other side shows that Miller is certainly safe for now. With Downing Street offering full support, there’s no chance of Miller going today. But she has been damaged by this episode and I would be surprised if she rose further than the post of Culture Secretary. Indeed, there’ll be plenty of voices urging Cameron to drop her or demote her in the reshuffle. The Tories desperately need more strong female media performers in the Cabinet and Miller isn’t currently cutting the mustard as that.