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Maria Miller Expenses Scandal - A Headache for David Cameron

Sunday, April 06, 2014


So the MPs expenses scandal has returned. The embattled Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller faces calls to resign following the revelations of what is seen by some as her dubious mortgage expenses claims. This week her plight was not helped by an apology to the House of Commons widely criticised for being quicker than Nigel Farage can down a pint. 

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this particular scandal, it is a strange case of déjà vu. What lessons if any, have been learned since the expenses scandal was first exposed in 2009?

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) seem to have no real power in holding individual MPs to account and the British people, whilst maintaining respect for Parliament as an institution continue to have little for the individuals they send there to represent them. This falls to zero respect when it comes to receiving money from the public purse you shouldn't be getting.

Also, can MPs continue to dictate to newspaper editors that they are unfit to sit in judgement on themselves whilst at the same time, maintain that MPs should be able to do just that when it comes to the scrutiny and conduct of their own behaviour?

Perhaps the real loser is actually not the British people, they have long since lost any confidence or admiration for MPs when it comes to their expenses claims, perhaps it is actually the Prime Minister.

In a week when David Cameron should be starting the process of talking up the economy in the run up to the European Elections, he finds himself defending the apparent indefensible actions of Mrs Miller at every turn.

It is going to be a long week in politics for Mr Cameron, his political opponents, supported by the Tory Press will seize on the opportunity to exploit this new expenses scandal and they may or may not get their woman. 

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