A PETITION calling for a Basingstoke MP Maria Miller to pay back £45,000 in expense claims or resign has received more than 150,000 signatures.

Matthew Lawrence, a prospective candidate for a seat at Reading Borough Council, started the petition on Friday last week after Mrs Miller’s 32-second apology to the House of Commons.

The 38-year-old public sector worker called on Mrs Miller to resign or pay back £45,000 – the amount of over-claimed expenses towards mortgage payment expenses identified by Kathryn Hudson, parliamentary commissioner for standards.

Mr Lawrence told The Gazette: “I started after the so-called apology that was made in the House of Commons last week. I felt it just was not satisfactory.

“I started with the thought that it might get a few thousand signatures – I did not expect it to accelerate the way that it has.”

He said he was angered by her “legalistic” attitude to the committee on standards, the body that eventually asked her to pay back just £5,800, and her subsequent short apology to the House of Commons.

By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been signed by 152,000 people.

Patrick Lauke, from Boothstown, near Manchester, wrote: “We need to stop this “something for nothing” culture that pervades MPs.”

Another supporter, Clayton Smith, from Brighton, wrote: “Politicians need reminding who they serve... It should only be the interests of the people of this country.

Mr Lawrence added: “My message to the people of Basingstoke would be that they demand an explanation as to why she feels after making such a vast profit (in selling her second home in Wimbledon) that she cannot pay back £45,000 that she appropriated from the taxpayers’ expense.”

Mrs Miller has always maintained that her claims are “absolutely in order” and “in complete accordance with the rules”.

To view the petition, visit change.org/en-GB/petitions/maria-miller-mp-either-pay-back-45-000-in-fraudulent-expense-claims-or-resign