Miller’s tale quite the shameless episode

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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David Cameron’s refusal, at the time of writing, to sack Culture Secretary Maria Miller over her cavalier handling of taxpayers’ money is no less shameful than her actions.

Miller has paid back a few thousand pounds as though that makes it all right. Well, if you get caught shoplifting at Tesco, you are not exonerated by simply replacing the stolen goods.

Miller, whose “apology” in the Commons lasted all of 32 seconds and was an insult to her colleagues and everyone else, should have done the honourable thing and resigned. She has no place in public life, and certainly not as a Cabinet Minister.

If, as has been claimed and not denied, Cameron refused to sack her because that would upset his quota of women at the highest echelons of the Government, that makes his position even worse.

We are constantly being told we cannot be sexist or racist, and here you have Britain’s top politician allegedly protecting someone because of their gender.

Already one man, David Laws, had to resign from the Cabinet because he was caught out on an expenses fiddle. Now, unbelievably, he has been reinstated in the Government. What is the matter with David Cameron? There are plenty of other honourable Members who could do these people’s jobs just as well, if not better.

One thing that has become obvious as a result of this Miller debacle is that never again should Members of Parliament be allowed to act as judge and jury of their fellow members.

The way the relevant committee of Members overthrew the meticulous findings of the inquiry body was not only a scandal but a betrayal of the people who pay their wages and put them into power: namely, the taxpaying voters.

It is not even that Miller has been anything special as a minister. She has the highest profile job in the Government, yet no one outside the Westminster bubble seems to have heard of her before the scandal arose - that doesn’t say much for her abilities.

Though she seems to have skin like armour-plating against all this, she should (ruthless as it sounds) be hounded out of office. If that adds up to a witch hunt, so be it.