POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Maria Miller Resigns

09/04/2014 08:28 BST | Updated 09/04/2014 08:59 BST
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/10/13 of Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Maria Miller, who is expected to face intense pressure when the results of a lengthy investigation into her use of taxpayer-funded expenses are published today.

Here is the one thing you need to know on Wednesday 9 April 2014...

1) MILLER RESIGNS

Maria Miller has resigned as culture secretary, Downing Street said Wednesday morning.

In a letter to David Cameron, Miller said the controversy over her expenses "has become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing".The prime minister us said to have been "sorry" to receive her resignation. In response to the former cabinet member, Cameron wrote that Miller could be "extremely proud" of her work in Government.

The reluctant-sounding PM added: "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." Her resignation follows days of mounting public and political pressure on the MP to quit and signs she was losing support among Tory colleagues despite Cameron's backing.

Miller had previously admitted she "let people down" as she struggled to cling on to her Cabinet job amid a Tory backlash in response to the way she approached parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson's probe into her accommodation expenses.

The culture secretary broke her silence after nearly a week of dire headlines Tuesday to insist she was "devastated" about the criticism she received from the Standards Committee.

In an article for local paper the Basingstoke Gazette, Miller said the last 16 months had been "difficult".

"I have unreservedly apologised for the way I handled and approached the inquiry," the MP wrote. I am devastated that this has happened, and that I have let you down."

While Conservatives broke ranks to express concern about Cameron's determination to cling on to his minister, allies launched a furious counter-attack accusing the press of a "witch-hunt" because of her role in shaping a new regulatory system.

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