In a shameful piece of journalism, The Daily Mail today carries a piece stating that Culture Secretary Maria Miller is set to be slammed by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson for fiddling £90,000 of expenses. Who planted this story? I bet you a fiver it was the spin department of Maria Miller. To a trained journalist it is so obvious that this THIEF is spinning hard, albeit in an incredibly amateurish fashion, to keep her nose in the trough.
The article cites sources, friends of Miller, Tory MPs but makes it clear that it has not been spoken to be team Piggy Miller. The article protests too much.
The substance of the piece is that Hudson has indeed found Miller guilty of fiddling her expenses But…
- She will not have to pay the money back so this is not really that serious, just a little misunderstanding
- Many Tory MPs think Ms Hudson does not understand the rules
- Most Tory MPs are sympathetic to Ms Miller
- Dave Cameron is desperate to keep as many women on his front bench as possible – given recent accusations of sexism.
Clearly the only person who benefits from this story appearing is Maria Miller in that one is left with the impression that the Watchdog might just be a bit incompetent, that the crime is not really that serious and that if she does get axed from the cabinet it is only because she was a woman and that most MPs are essentially on her side. As such it is blindingly obvious who planted this story and who all the “sources are”. Shame on the Daily Mail for running such crap.
Looking at the points in order.
- Sleaze artist Ms Miller has broken the rules. She is guilty. In the private sector she would be repaying the money she has stolen, losing her job (not just as a minister but also as an MP) and would face a criminal prosecution. That the political class still seems to think that it is one law for them and one for us is a scandal. Crime should not pay…especially, not even, if you are an MP.
- Ms Hudson clearly does understand the rules and it is clear that she is doing her job properly. This is a really nasty slur.
- There is no evidence of this at all. I sense that most Tories are thinking nervously about the 2015 election and thinking that the last thing they want to be is to be associated with a woman who has transferred taxpayer’s cash into her own bank account by deliberately breaking the rules.
- Call Me Dave is quite possibly obsessed with having a good quota of women, gays, ethnic minorities in his cabinet. But given the popular perception of politicians as a venal class he is probably keener of having a quota of zero greedy expense fiddling thieves in his cabinet. CMD knows full well that if he sticks up for piggy wiggy Miller that is another reason why ordinary decent Tory voters will view his party as out of touch and think about a two fingers to you vote for UKIP.
If you fiddled your expenses your employer would try to get the cash back, would sack you and would almost certainly call in the Old Bill. Every time an MP manages to play by a different rule (not losing their seat, not paying back the dosh and not facing a trial) we miserable little people who pay their wages despise the entire political class that bit more.
If David Cameron wants to reconnect with ordinary voters he should forget for a minute about how many women he has in his cabinet and just come out and say that what Ms Miller did was wrong, that she should repay all the cash NOW and that if she had any honour at all she would resign her Parliamentary seat at once. If she will not do that Cameron should force the local association to deselect this grubby, greedy and unpleasant woman as soon as possible.