THE findings of an investigation into Basingstoke MP Maria Miller’s expenses claims have been passed to the Committee on Standards – more than a year after the probe began.
The investigation into Mrs Miller’s taxpayer-funded claims of £90,718 for her second home was launched in December 2012 by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards John Lyon, after his office received a complaint from Bassetlaw Labour MP, John Mann.
The investigation has been ongoing for more than a year – but this week, Jon Prawer, complaints manager from the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, told The Gazette that a memorandum with the results of its investigation has been sent to the Committee on Standards, which will consider the findings and write a report.
He added: “They may, or may not, need to interview Mrs Miller again, and will recommend any actions. As far as this office is concerned, we have done our bit.”
The complaint from Mr Mann was made a day after a report in The Daily Telegraph on Decem-ber 11, 2012 detailing the Culture Secre-tary’s expenses claims made between 2005 and 2009 for a home where her parents live with her and her family in Wimbledon, South London.
The article claimed that having her parents living with her had put Mrs Miller at “odds with parliamentary rules”. It added that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner had ruled that second homes must be used “exclusively” by MPs fulfilling their parliamentary duty.
As previously reported by The Gazette, between 2005 and 2009, Mrs Miller claimed her Wimbledon property was her second home, and she claimed expenses on mortgage interest payments, utilities and council tax.
Since 2011, the Wimbledon home has been declared as Mrs Miller’s main residence, meaning she cannot claim expenses for the property.
Mr Mann has claimed that Mrs Miller’s second home claim arrangement was “identical” to the former Labour minister Tony McNulty, who was told to pay back more than £13,000 of expenses claimed for a second home occupied by his parents in 2009.
Last June, Mrs Miller told The Gazette that she has not been able to comment on the ongoing expenses investigation because she would be in contempt of House of Commons rules.
As previously reported, when the expenses story appeared in December 2012, Mrs Miller – who has always maintained that her claims are “absolutely in order” and “in complete accordance with the rules” – said in a statement to The Gazette: “For a considerable time before I entered politics, my parents have lived with me, my husband and our children as part of our family. I have always been open about these arrangements.
“Prior to my election as an MP, my father’s health deteriorated, and shortly after I was elected in 2005, my mother suffered a severe stroke that has left her permanently incapacitated.”
She added: “The current IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) rules ensure that MPs with caring responsibilities are recognised within the expenses system, including those with responsibilities for disabled and elderly family members.”
The Committee on Standards refused to comment on the progress of the investigation, or when it will announce the outcome of the findings.