UK culture secretary quits amid expenses row

9 Apr 2014 17:11

Britain’s Culture Secretary Maria Miller has quit her post over an ongoing expenses scandal.

In a letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, Miller said she was resigning as the controversy over her expenses "has become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing."

The resignation follows days of mounting public and political pressure on the secretary to quit following the scandal over her expenses between ۲۰۰۵ and ۲۰۰۹.

In the four-year period, Miller claimed more than £۹۰,۰۰۰ in taxpayer-funded expenses on her house in Wimbledon, south London, which she shared with her parents.

Last week, the Commons Committee on Standards cleared the Basingstoke MP of misusing the expenses system, but ordered her to repay £۵,۸۰۰ to cover over-claiming of mortgage expenses and apologize for failing to co-operate fully with an inquiry into her actions.

The committee overruled an earlier decision by parliament's independent standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson, requiring the secretary to pay back £۴۵,۰۰۰ in expenses.

In a recent survey conducted by pollsters Survation for the Mail on Sunday, some ۷۸ percent of those questioned said Miller should be dropped from the Cabinet, ۶۸ percent said she must be axed as an MP, and ۶۶ percent said she should be stripped of her responsibility for press regulation.

She made a ۳۲-second apology to the House of Commons on April ۳ and Cameron gave full support to his embattled minister.

However, ۷۳ percent of British voters said they thought Miller’s apology was inadequate and ۷۵ percent said they felt Cameron was wrong to offer the culture secretary his support.

Back in ۲۰۰۹, the parliamentary expenses scandal landed five members of the Commons and two members of the House of Lords in jail over fraud.

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