THE pressure is growing on Maria Miller, after voters in a poll published today thought she should be sacked from her Cabinet post and as Basingstoke MP.
Unnamed senior ministers are also calling for her to go, with one calling the Culture Secretary “dead in the water, politically speaking”.
This follows Mrs Miller’s 32-second apology to the House of Commons on Thursday for her “legalistic” attitude towards the inquiries of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, Kathryn Hudson.
The commissioner had recommended that Mrs Miller pay back £45,000 of the £90,000 in expenses she claimed for her second home in Wimbledon between 2005 and 2009.
But the 10 MPs and three lay people on the committee on standards told Mrs Miller that she should pay back just £5,800 overclaimed in mortgage interest in 2009, after clearing her of deliberately submitting the expense claims for her own benefit.
A poll of 1,001 voters published in today’s Mail on Sunday found that 78 per cent think she should be sacked from the Cabinet. A further 68 per cent think she should be sacked as Basingstoke MP, while in a third poll question, 75 per cent think Prime Minister David Cameron is wrong to back her.
The Conservatives have said that Mrs Miller’s apology ended the matter, a line reiterated this morning by party chairman Grant Shapps.
But a senior minister quoted anonymously in The Sunday Telegraph called for her to go from the Cabinet.
The minister said: “In my view she has clearly behaved in a way that is incompatible with what she should be doing as a Cabinet minister.
“The decision to keep her on undermines the Prime Minister because he has talked about a new kind of politics.”
The paper said other ministers criticised Mrs Miller’s special adviser Jo Hindley, who telephoned The Daily Telegraph in 2012 to “flag up” that Mrs Miller was involved in discussions of press regulation, when the paper first started looking at her expense claims.
Mrs Miller has always maintained that her claims are “absolutely in order” and “in complete accordance with the rules”.
Her apology to MPs on Thursday read: “The report resulted from an allegation made by the member for Bassetlaw. The committee has dismissed his allegation.
“The committee has recommended that I apologise to the House for my attitude to the Commissioner’s inquiries and I, of course, unreservedly apologise.
“I fully accept the recommendations of the committee and thank them for bringing this matter to an end.”