Cabinet minister to repay thousands after abusing expenses

Culture-Secretary-Maria-Miller-1872996

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller is  to be censured for abusing the parliamentary expenses system and will be forced to pay back thousands of pounds against the money she claimed.

The cabinet minister abused the system by over-claiming for her mortgage and then failed to fully co-operate with an investigation into her conduct.

She is set to have to repay up to £5,000 following an official Parliamentary inquiry which is expected to report as soon as this week. Mrs Miller is expected to come under intense pressure to resign when the results of the official inquiry are made public.

Speaking to the Telegraph, one Conservative source said: “We simply cannot have a member of the Cabinet found to have abused the expenses system in any way this close to vital elections.”

Parliamentary authorities first launched an inquiry into Mrs Miller’s claims more than a year ago but MPs sitting on the standards committee are thought to be waiting for more financial information before finalising the penalty to be imposed on Mrs Miller.

The MPs are frustrated that they have had to wait for months for basic financial details about the amount of money she over-claimed.

One source said: “If she had just said sorry she would be in a much stronger position. It will be a question of embarrassment and if she showed the best judgment.

“It is about how much the committee can establish she might have received in error because of the crash in the interest rates.”

A final report could be published as early as Thursday next week and almost certainly by April 10 – when the House rises for its Easter break.

A source close to Mrs Miller said: “Maria has co-operated fully with the inquiry, asked for by the Labour Party, which has now been going on for a year and a half amidst constant unfounded speculation. We hope it will conclude soon”.

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