Newgate News

Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

What's next - an offer they can't refuse?

This week's 'Do you know who I am?' award goes, by proxy, to the Culture Secretary:
Maria Miller's advisers warned The Telegraph to consider the minister’s role in implementing the Leveson Report before this newspaper published details of her expenses.
Mrs Miller, it seems, claimed as her second home the Wimbledon house which she and her city lawyer husband shared with her parents. Not surprisingly, given the location and the size of residence this implies, the allowances she claimed for the house between 2005 and 2009 amount to some £90,000.

Despite her assertion that her parents live with the family as 'dependants', this case appears to be identical to that of Labour's Tony McNulty, who was required to pay back £13,000 after the Parliamentary Commissioner described the situation as 'unacceptable'.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has previously ruled that second homes must be “exclusively” for the use of MPs in fulfilling their parliamentary duties and that housing a politician’s parents was “specifically prohibited” by the rules.
It's interesting to note that, having previously claimed £90,718 out of a maximum allowable £90,833 in second home allowances, Mrs Miller stopped claiming for the property altogether when the expenses scandal came to light and has since designated it her main residence.

When a reporter from the Telegraph - which is understandably anxious to retain its crown as Britain's foremost expense-fraud-busting paper - contacted the Culture Secretary's office, Mrs Miller's aide was ready with a thinly-disguised warning worthy of Cosa Nostra:
“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about.”
It is probably fair to say that Telegraph staff won't be the only ones thinking long and hard about the implication of her words.

6 comments:

A K Haart said...

Good for the Telegraph. I hope Mrs Miller gets all she deserves.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Almost - but not quite - unbelievable.

Not quite, because the sheer blatant authoritarianism of our corrupt MP's, as they go about attempting to conceal their crimes from the public, is something to which we are becoming hardened.

But this really does cross the line.

I hope she is now cast into the outer darkness - but I'm not holding my breath: she's one of them, and they stick together.

James Higham said...

Yes, it will be pleasing to see her go down.

JuliaM said...

Someone's going to find a SPAD's head in their bed before long...

Macheath said...

Don't get your hopes up, gentlemen; I suspect that, as Julia suggests, Mrs Miller's aide will be the one facing the (metaphorical) chop.

JuliaM said...

Although Cameron has just said she's got his full support and he thinks she's doing a good job.

Kiss of death?