North East Hampshire MP defends Basingstoke MP Maria Miller

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke MP Maria Miller with North West Hampshire MP, Sir George Young and MP for North East Hampshire, James Arbuthnot Basingstoke MP Maria Miller with North West Hampshire MP, Sir George Young and MP for North East Hampshire, James Arbuthnot

THE MP for North East Hampshire has backed Basingstoke MP Maria Miller following her resignation as Culture Secretary.

Mrs Miller resigned from her position as Culture Secretary on Wednesday following the controversy over the findings of, and her reaction to, a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards concerning her second home expenses claims.

In a letter of resignation to Prime Minister David Cameron, the Basingstoke MP said the controversy – which had rumbled on for a week after Mrs Miller made a terse 32-second apology in the House of Commons – “has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing”.

Her decision to step down followed mounting pressure for Mrs Miller to be sacked by Mr Cameron, or resign, after she was criticised for her attitude to the inquiry conducted by Parliamentary Commissioner Kathryn Hudson.

Although Mrs Miller was cleared of deliberately claiming incorrect second home expenses for her home in Wimbledon, where her parents also lived, the Parliamentary Standards Committee recommended she should repay £5,800 to cover the cost of her over-claiming mortgage payments after she failed to cut her claims as interest rates fell.

The Parliamentary Commissioner actually recommended that Mrs Miller should repay £45,800, but this was over-ruled by the Standards Committee, on which the Conservatives have the largest single representation - five of the 13 members. The three lay members do not have voting rights.

This morning, North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot has defended the Basingstoke MP in a statement sent to The Gazette, becoming the second MP in Hampshire to defend his colleague, after North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young, defended Mrs Miller on Friday.

James Arbuthnot said: “I have known, liked, worked with and trusted Maria for many years. I have seen her fighting for her constituents at the highest level of Government as well as working phenomenally hard for them at a local level.

“Maria played a vital role in a Government that has done the right things to create more jobs, more apprenticeships and better schools for Basingstoke – I know that she is looking forward to continuing that work in the future.”

He added: “Her personal achievements in Government, whether through the roll-out of superfast broadband or ensuring a meaningful legacy from the Olympics, have been invaluable.

“It is because of that hard work that she has enjoyed support from both Conservative voters and others who recognise what she has done for Basingstoke.

“Although I am retiring at the next election, over the next year I will be out supporting Maria during the campaign to ensure we can continue the vital work of securing a better future for Hampshire, and the entire country.”

Comments (9)

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1:57pm Mon 14 Apr 14

deborah.long14@btinternet.com says...

James Arbuthnot said: “I have known, liked, worked with and trusted Maria for many years. I have seen her fighting for her constituents at the highest level of Government as well as working phenomenally hard for them at a local level.

What a Joke
James Arbuthnot said: “I have known, liked, worked with and trusted Maria for many years. I have seen her fighting for her constituents at the highest level of Government as well as working phenomenally hard for them at a local level. What a Joke deborah.long14@btinternet.com
  • Score: 17

2:04pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Angry of Basingstoke says...

An MP sticking up for Maria Miller that should fix it? It has been MPs self-determining their own expenses, rules and wages that has got the whole of Parliament into this sleazy mess.

And if she is so great how come at least 90 per cent of Gazette Readers in a Poll said she should be deselected as our MP and sacked. The vast majority of the town wanted that. It has been her actions and the extreme reactions of Maria Miller which have her in this position. She won't win her seat for Basingstoke. We in Basingstoke need an MP we can all truly respect and trust.
An MP sticking up for Maria Miller that should fix it? It has been MPs self-determining their own expenses, rules and wages that has got the whole of Parliament into this sleazy mess. And if she is so great how come at least 90 per cent of Gazette Readers in a Poll said she should be deselected as our MP and sacked. The vast majority of the town wanted that. It has been her actions and the extreme reactions of Maria Miller which have her in this position. She won't win her seat for Basingstoke. We in Basingstoke need an MP we can all truly respect and trust. Angry of Basingstoke
  • Score: 15

4:12pm Mon 14 Apr 14

c.sandelands says...

This is defending the indefensible. This idiot should resign as well. Roll on General Election 2015 and a wholesale clear out.
This is defending the indefensible. This idiot should resign as well. Roll on General Election 2015 and a wholesale clear out. c.sandelands
  • Score: 12

7:32pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Cynical Reader says...

All pals together. They never will 'get it'.
When UKIP get in they will all wonder why.
All pals together. They never will 'get it'. When UKIP get in they will all wonder why. Cynical Reader
  • Score: 4

10:13pm Mon 14 Apr 14

CineEngineer says...

Here we go again. More come out to sing the praises of an MP who has fiddled expenses but, hides behind a multitude of excuses why she did it.

Miller is nothing but a piece of low life bottom feeding trash.

The public has had enough of excuses upon excuses.

How can you defend the undefensible crime of taking taxpayers that you were not entitled to.
Here we go again. More come out to sing the praises of an MP who has fiddled expenses but, hides behind a multitude of excuses why she did it. Miller is nothing but a piece of low life bottom feeding trash. The public has had enough of excuses upon excuses. How can you defend the undefensible crime of taking taxpayers that you were not entitled to. CineEngineer
  • Score: 7

7:12am Tue 15 Apr 14

toffeeblock says...

I expect a large % of voters will still vote for the party of choice rather than the personality. But to help us make our own judgement I think it would be really helpful for the Gazette to publish a side-by-side comparison of prospective MPs responses to a pre-defined set of questions...e.g.
- how may years have you and your family lived in the district you wish to represent?
- if you had children of school age during this period (above) did they attend local schools for the majority of this period?
- were these fee-paying schools?
- if you win the election, is it your intention to maintain a primary residence in the district?
- career experience, and duration, outside of politics? (i.e. to identify "career politicians")
- potential ministerial positions that specific past job experience may be relevant to?
- their own education qualifications (if any) and, thereafter, professional status

I'm sure a good journalist could come up with some more!
I expect a large % of voters will still vote for the party of choice rather than the personality. But to help us make our own judgement I think it would be really helpful for the Gazette to publish a side-by-side comparison of prospective MPs responses to a pre-defined set of questions...e.g. - how may years have you and your family lived in the district you wish to represent? - if you had children of school age during this period (above) did they attend local schools for the majority of this period? - were these fee-paying schools? - if you win the election, is it your intention to maintain a primary residence in the district? - career experience, and duration, outside of politics? (i.e. to identify "career politicians") - potential ministerial positions that specific past job experience may be relevant to? - their own education qualifications (if any) and, thereafter, professional status I'm sure a good journalist could come up with some more! toffeeblock
  • Score: 4

9:27am Tue 15 Apr 14

Ambivalent says...

I think this is an illustration of what national politics has become ...a self serving political machine. This at the same time as Onalee Cubbit is told she can't stand, even though it appears that's what the people want. Tony Blair mastered spin and public relations and certainly this is being maintained by the Conservatives. Please, please, give the people a bit of credit for not being so stupid as to be taken in by all this spin! Try being honest and start acting with some integrity and comprehension of the real world!
My experience of communicating with Maria Miller was dismal. A letter, written asking a couple of polite and valid questions about Conservative policy, received a reply that appeared to be cut and pasted from a news release and actually avoided answering any question put to her. I doubt she even saw it and was probably sent by someone in the office.
She may have been busy in the cabinet, but then if she is too busy to respond to one of her constituents then she can't be doing her job as a local MP.
Looking through all the press reports, I don't feel Maria Miller has ever had her constituents at the forefront of her mind.
I think Arbuthnott and Young should consider what they are saying as it will probably only fuel the disgust the public have with politicians.
I think this is an illustration of what national politics has become ...a self serving political machine. This at the same time as Onalee Cubbit is told she can't stand, even though it appears that's what the people want. Tony Blair mastered spin and public relations and certainly this is being maintained by the Conservatives. Please, please, give the people a bit of credit for not being so stupid as to be taken in by all this spin! Try being honest and start acting with some integrity and comprehension of the real world! My experience of communicating with Maria Miller was dismal. A letter, written asking a couple of polite and valid questions about Conservative policy, received a reply that appeared to be cut and pasted from a news release and actually avoided answering any question put to her. I doubt she even saw it and was probably sent by someone in the office. She may have been busy in the cabinet, but then if she is too busy to respond to one of her constituents then she can't be doing her job as a local MP. Looking through all the press reports, I don't feel Maria Miller has ever had her constituents at the forefront of her mind. I think Arbuthnott and Young should consider what they are saying as it will probably only fuel the disgust the public have with politicians. Ambivalent
  • Score: 5

7:09pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Duckorange says...

c.sandelands wrote:
This is defending the indefensible. This idiot should resign as well. Roll on General Election 2015 and a wholesale clear out.
Arbuthnot's standing down in 2015. I dare say he'll be replaced by another stuffed suit.
[quote][p][bold]c.sandelands[/bold] wrote: This is defending the indefensible. This idiot should resign as well. Roll on General Election 2015 and a wholesale clear out.[/p][/quote]Arbuthnot's standing down in 2015. I dare say he'll be replaced by another stuffed suit. Duckorange
  • Score: 3

1:56pm Thu 1 May 14

Suriman says...

In her defence, she can be quite philanthropic as long as she is spending other peoples money.
In her defence, she can be quite philanthropic as long as she is spending other peoples money. Suriman
  • Score: 0

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