Fraudster – and Minister for Equalities – Maria Miller has been ordered to repay £5,800 and apologise to Parliament after an inquiry found she had over-claimed mortgage expenses.
In essence, she made fraudulent expenses claims that were not reduced to accommodate a fall in interest rates.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards launched an investigation into her behaviour after it was reported that, between 2005 and 2009, she had claimed £90,718 in Parliamentary expenses for the mortgage and upkeep of a south London house that was occupied, not by Mrs Miller, but by her parents.
The Commons Committee on Standards did what’s usually expected and cleared Miller of the central charge – deliberately submitting expenses claims to which she was not entitled. Instead, she is being penalised because her attitude to the inquiry breached the ministers’ code of conduct.
The committee rejected the charge that she or her parents had benefited financially from the arrangement. That’s very interesting, considering that Miller recently sold the south London house at the centre of the affair, making a profit of £1 million (according to the Daily Telegraph).
John Mann MP, whose complaint led to the inquiry being launched, has been tweeting on the subject. He says: “Miller forced to apologise for showing ‘completely inappropriate attitude to the inquiry’. Doesn’t take it seriously.
“Miller’s attitude will infuriate the public, who have had enough of expenses scandals and MPs’ arrogance. David Cameron will be accused of hypocrisy if he does not sack Maria Miller today.”
He’s right – look at this representative tweet from ‘Amy’: “MP Maria Miller expected to repay thousands in overpaid expenses & make an apology. If she was a benefit claimant she would be jailed.”
Mr Mann’s own article about it can be found here.
If Miller had been arrested and put on crown court trial for fraud (as seems likely, considering the “legalistic” way she tried to defend herself against the Parliamentary commissioner’s inquiries), she could have been imprisoned for up to 10 years. That is what happens to other people. But Parliament looks after its own.
Do you think that is fair?
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