UK CULTURE Secretary Maria Miller has held on to her job in the government despite being forced to apologise to the House and pay back £5,800 of expenses she had wrongly claimed.
Parliament’s standards committee cleared her of the main charge of deliberately submitting expenses claims to which she was not entitled.
But in a 32-second statement in the Commons, Mrs Miller said she “unreservedly” apologised.
Ms Miller was criticised for extending the length of the investigation by not promptly handing over the necessary documents after Labour MP John Mann reported her to the Standards Commission.
The complaint followed reports she had allowed her parents to live in a property on which she claimed £90,718 in second home allowances between 2005 and 2009.
The committee report said: “If the Commissioner had been able swiftly to establish the facts relating to Mrs Miller’s mortgages, and had been able to gather the documentation which would have allowed her (and has allowed us) to judge the relationship between the changes in bank base rate and the interest charged to Mrs Miller, this might have been a relatively minor matter.” the committee said.
Instead, it concluded, the investigation had been mired in “delay and difficulty”, because of the “incomplete documentation and fragmentary information”.
It added: “Mrs Miller has to carry significant responsibility for that.”
Mrs Miller told the Commons: “The report resulted from an allegation made by the member for Bassetlaw [Mr Mann]. 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.”
Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear he would not sack one of his most senior women ministers.
He said: “Maria Miller is doing an excellent job as culture secretary and will continue to do that.
“If we look at this report, yes of course these issues do matter - but she was cleared of the original allegation made against her.
“An over-payment was found which she is going to pay back. She’ll make a full apology, and I think people should leave it at that.”