Tory sleaze

THE BELATED resignation of the Culture Secretary may have let the Prime Minister off the hook in the run-up to the local and European elections in May.

Maria Miller was cleared of misusing the expenses system by claiming £90,000 for her second home in south London, in which she lived with her elderly parents. But she was criticised by the Parliamentary Standards Committee for the way she responded to the year-long inquiry. The independent Parliamentary Standards Commissioner recommended that Miller repay £45,000 of expenses, but this was reduced to just £5,800 by MPs on the Standards and Privileges Committee, who have the final say.

The Tory minister hoped to brazen it out with a half-hearted apology in the House of Commons last week. But this did nothing to dampen the furore of the press, much of it stirred up by rivals in her own camp, leaving her with no choice but to step down. But the scandalous abuse of Parliamentary expenses won’t go away without a serious reform of the way we pay those who claim to represent us.