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The new culture secretary, Maria Miller, loves to throw her weight around, doesn’t she?
I wasn’t going to write about how she claimed £90,000 towards a mortgage and other expenses associated with the south London house where her parents live – the Daily Telegraph has already done a very good job of it – but then, it seems, she decided to try bully-girl tactics.
While the newspaper was researching the story, we are told, Mrs Miller’s special advisor – one Joanna Hindley – warned a Telegraph reporter that the paper’s editor was meeting the Prime Minister and the culture secretary to discuss the implementation of the Leveson report.
The implication seems clear enough: “Leave her alone or she’ll make life very difficult for you.”
Big, big mistake.
You see, this meant it wasn’t another “dodgy expenses claim” story any more. It’s now about abuse of power. That puts this minister up in the big leagues, with George Osborne and that paddock he used to own.
Gideon, as by now I have documented very thoroughly, thought he could get away with using taxpayers’ cash to make a cool million pounds in the property market without anyone being able to do a thing about it. Now there’s a criminal investigation under way, examining his activities.
Mrs Miller, who earned the nickname ‘Killer’ for her part in implementing cruel and unnecessary welfare reforms that have led either directly or indirectly to the deaths of 73 people per week (on average) – and who also ensured the closure of 36 Remploy factories, which employ disabled people (another 10 have come under threat from her successor) – seems to think she can use her position to stop the public finding out the facts about her.
Well, now we know one thing for sure: She’s a nasty piece of work.
And she can’t perform her job impartially, which is what is required. Cabinet ministers are supposed to act for the good of the nation, not their own petty personal interests. In this, both
Gideon and ‘Killer’ have failed. They have abused public trust and should be dismissed. My opinion is that Osborne should be jailed.
‘Killer’ has been reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards as her expenses claims appear to be similar to those of Labour MP Tony McNulty who, in 2009, was required to pay back more than £13,000 in expenses claimed on a second home occupied by his parents.
I hope she gets penalised in a big way.
But even if that doesn’t happen, she can be sure that life won’t be easy from now on. Reporters don’t take kindly to bullies, and a threat against one – in the way she engineered – is a threat against us all.
I reckon we’ll be finding out a lot more about Mrs Miller’s misdeeds from now on. Perhaps life will become difficult for her.