Maria Miller, the UK’s culture secretary, has resigned from the cabinet over the expenses controversy. In a letter to the prime minister, David Cameron, sent this morning (9 April), she said that it was ‘with great regret’ that she was resigning but that ‘the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around.’
Miller had come under mounting pressure to resign following revelations about over-claimed expenses. She was ordered by the Committee on Standards to repay £5800 – the Committee had initially recommended she repay £45000 – and apologise in the House of Commons. Her brief and perfunctory apology was widely criticised. Calls for her to resign had come from all quarters, including former Tory cabinet minister Norman Tebbitt and former Labour speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd.
Miller’s resignation letter continued: ‘I am immensely proud of what my team have been able to achieve during my time in Government: ensuring that our arts and cultural institutions receive the rightful recognition that they deserve in making Britain Great; putting women front and centre of every aspect of DCMS’s work; putting in place the legislation to enable all couples to have the opportunity to marry regardless of their sexuality.’
Accepting her resignation, Cameron’s reply expressed his continued support and admiration for Miller’s work as culture secretary: ‘I am personally very grateful for the support you have always given me, and which I am sure that you will continue to give. I hope that you will be able to return to serving the Government on the Frontbench in due course, and am only sad that you are leaving the Government in these circumstances.’