Coffee House

Breaking: Maria Miller resigns

9 April 2014

7:22 AM

9 April 2014

7:22 AM

Listen: Fraser Nelson, James Forysth and Isabel Hardman discuss Miller’s resignation

In the past few minutes, Maria Miller has resigned. The issue wasn’t going to go away, thanks in no small part to the way that the Culture Secretary and Number 10 had handled the story. A lack of contrition in the Chamber last Thursday coupled with the Prime Minister’s ‘warm support’ for his minister gave the impression that no-one at the centre of the government saw how this would play with voters. It is significant that those MPs who did break cover and criticise her all focused on the nature and quality of her apology in the Commons, not the detail of her expenses claims per se.

As Miller says in her letter, ‘the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around’: yesterday the IMF upgraded the UK’s growth forecast, but this further evidence that George Osborne had survived his own ‘364 economists‘ moment was largely ignored. Her own second non-apology in her local paper, in which she told her constituents that she had let them down but added that she had ‘already apologised’ and her aide Mary Macleod’s messy attempt to rescue her boss by alleging a witch hunt stoked the story further. Ed Miliband could have monstered David Cameron today at Prime Minister’s Questions, and Tory MPs could have feasted on the remains at the 1922 Committee meeting tonight, but even getting Miller over the finishing line to recess would be no good: leaving MPs in their constituencies with angry voters would be far more damaging than letting them buzz about in Portcullis House.

Here is the exchange of letters between the Culture Secretary and David Cameron:


9 April 2014

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with great regret that I have decided that I should tender my resignation as a member of the Cabinet.

I am very grateful to you for your personal support but it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing to turn our country around.


I have been a member of the Conservative Party for more than 30 years. As a working mother, educated at a South Wales Comprehensive School, I know that it is our Party that understands the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to succeed regardless of where they come from.

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.

Of course, implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson on the future of media regulation, following the phone hacking scandals, would always be controversial for the press. Working together with you, I believe we struck the right balance between protecting the freedom of the press and ensuring fairness, particularly for victims of press intrusion to have a clear right of redress.

I will continue to support you and the work of the Government as you move forward. Ensuring the best future for the people of Basingstoke has been my priority throughout the last 9 years. Whether on the front or back benches of the House of Commons I will continue this work.

The only reason I was able to become an MP and indeed a Government Minister and Cabinet Minister is because of the unstinting support of my husband, my mother, my father and my three children. I owe them all a great deal.

Maria Miller


9 April 2014

Dear Maria,

Thank you for your letter. I was very sorry to receive it.

I think it is important to be clear that the Committee on Standards cleared you of the unfounded allegations made against you, a point which has been lost in much of the comment in recent days.

You can be extremely proud of your work in Government – as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, as Minister for Women and as Minister for Disabled People.

You have been responsible for successfully handling two of the most controversial issues with which this Government has dealt. As Culture Secretary, you have played a critical role in advancing Britain’s proud record of respect and equality in piloting the Equal Marriage Act through Parliament and onto the Statute Book. There are many people in our country today, and there will be many in the future, who will always be grateful for this very important change, which you did so much to bring about. You have also handled the sensitive subject of press regulation with skill and dedication.

You can be very proud as well that you have led one of the most important infrastructure projects: many more premises are now able to access super-fast broadband . You have also ensured a lasting legacy for the Olympic Games.

As you leave the Government, you should be proud of your service on the Frontbench and in Opposition.

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.

David Cameron

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Smithersjones2013

    Typically mealy mouthed bitter responses from the two of them. Even in defeat they are celebrating two of the most unnecessary acts of self harm in a further act of purile defiance. Yet again this only demonstrates how out of touch with the country these ‘Cameroony Tunes’ are

    And its a ‘Thats All Folks’ from muppet Miller….Huzzah!

  • Bill Heywood

    Cameron still doesn’t get it. His letter utterly misses why the poor ripped off taxpayer is so angry about the way Maria Miller has behaved, the fiddled expenses, the non-cooperation with the Commissioner, the threats to the Telegraph and the non-apology in the Commons. That fellow MPs ignored the evidence and “cleared” her (in no-ones eyes but other MPs) is irrelevant.

  • Colin56

    What a truly nauseating exchange of letters. Miller expresses no remorse or regrets, blames everyone except herself, and, hoping she might one day return, trumpets her ‘achievements’ at DCMS (you’d need more search power than is currently deployed looking for that Malaysian aircraft to identify anything she has actually done). Cameron, given the opportunity to set himself on the right path, totally misses the point: he continues with his support for her and holds out the prospect that she might one day return to office.

    Both totally don’t ‘get it’: an abject apology for her expenses claims, acknowledgement of the wrong she had done and how lucky she is – so far – to escape prosecution, and of the damage she has inflicted on the government from Miller, and, from Cameron, a swift kick into the very long grass would have had some chance of healing this festering sore. Now the scab has been knocked off the expenses scandal once again, I predict this will run and run, rather like the sleaze cloud that hung over the Major government prior to the 1997 election. It’s a long time till May 2015: can Cameron last that long?

  • John Lea

    Reply from tax payers:
    “Dear Maria,
    We want our f*cking money back – all of it.”

    • Colin56

      And make sure the cheque doesn’t bounce.

  • Peter Stroud

    She had to go. Why did it take so long?

    • 2trueblue

      I can’t remember a raft of resignations when the expenses scandal exploded. It was never dealt with properly, which was in fact down to the last government who were in power for 13yre. The fact that some of the offenders went on to work for large companies who have great big contracts with the government says it all.

  • Bonkim

    Pity this went on so long, poor judgement on the part of Cameron.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Maria could have held out for another day. A difficult PMQs would have been the icing on the cake. Since she seemed committed to creating as much mayhem for Cameron, why quit so soon? Maria, you keep finding more and more ways to disappoint. Oh well, gone, but not forgotten.

    • telemachus

      A scalp for the Telegraph bullies

      • Colin56

        No – more a hollow victory for the poor benighted taxpayers who will never see their money – legally confiscated by successive rapacious governments – back.

  • telemachus

    Mann is still bullying her on intimidation( of the DT for goodness sake)
    He needs to back off
    Miliband has

    • Wessex Man

      oh come tele, you, me and everybody here know that you are only sticking up for her because your Labour laddos have done the same and the time!

      Vote UKip!

      • Kitty MLB

        I’m a little slow today, dear Wessex Man, that clearly is the answer, as
        well as Telemachus wanting Miller around because for some unfathomable reason, he believes that would look good for Labour. Although there may be a spot of generosity within his dark soul
        that he is only just revealing… We may eventually have Telemachus
        on the road to Damascus- you never know !!!!

  • Swiss Bob

    Too little too late for the electorate let alone their own voters.

  • telemachus

    Shame shame shame
    DT has won
    Cameron blinked
    Weak weak weak

    • Kitty MLB

      Do you truly support her, telemachus. They from
      all parties know the rules.Some like Paul Goodman from
      ConservativeHome feel she has been bullied and that
      the Prime Minister was right to support her.
      But how was that right…
      Also maybe the politics and their homes actually
      needs looking at, considering how much time
      they spend in London.

      • alabenn

        Telemachus has more political cunning than half the Labour Party, the Party has very high up shadows with more egregious claims happening now and previous, look at the Balls family, hundreds of thousands possibly.