New twist in row over Miller expenses

Maria Miller
Maria Miller
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Police have been urged to examine Maria Miller’s expenses amid growing anger over the way MPs watered down a damning independent report that suggested she should repay £45,000.

Labour backbencher Thomas Docherty called for Scotland Yard to intervene after the cross-party Standards Committee ordered Maria Miller to apologise, but overruled sleaze watchdog Kathryn Hudson by deciding she only needed to hand back £5,800 in overclaimed mortgage interest.

The move came as David Cameron made another bid to draw a line under the damaging episode, which has sparked demands for Mrs Miller to be sacked or stripped of responsibility for shaping a new Press regulation system.

The 10-member committee attempted to defuse criticism of its actions by releasing a joint statement with Ms Hudson describing the situation as “complex” and stressing Mrs Miller had been rebuked for failing to co-operate with the investigation.

But another Labour MP, John Mann, insisted the only way of demonstrating the case had been handled properly was to publish all minutes of its deliberations.

Mrs Miller has been accused of making a “contemptuous” 32-second personal apology on the floor of the House yesterday. She is thought to be the first Minister to make such a statement to the Commons without resigning.

Letters published with the committee’s report have revealed that the MP repeatedly attempted to close the long-running investigation down, arguing that Ms Hudson was going beyond her original remit by asking for details of mortgage arrangements.

The inquiry was launched in 2012 following allegations that Mrs Miller used some £90,000 in expenses to fund a house where she lived with her parents.