Maria Miller does not even have the “it was all within the rules defence”. Apparently she has been “cleared”, but the report is actually damning:
“The documentation that is available of Mrs Miller’s interactions with the House tends to show a pattern in which officials would press her for information and the information that was provided appears to have been the minimum necessary. This pattern was repeated in both the Commissioner’s inquiry, and our own investigation.”
“As we have set out, Mrs Miller has also breached the current Code of Conduct by her attitude to this inquiry. That is more serious. The system relies on Members responding to the Commissioner’s inquiries fully and frankly, rather than trying to argue a case in a legalistic way. It should not have required our intervention to produce the material and explanations required to complete the investigation.”
The committee also raised serious concerns about the lack of paperwork relating to Miller’s mortage payments. Whatever could have happened to that?
It can also be revealed that Miller tried to get her lawyers to challenge the investigation over “a difference of opinion”: “Mrs Miller submitted an independent legal opinion giving a view of the scope of the original complaint and of the investigation itself.”
She is also heavily criticised for not playing by Commons rules:
“We are concerned that Mrs Miller did not pay as close attention to the rules of the House as she should have done. As we have seen, after her election she increased the facility on her mortgage on at least two occasions without consulting the House, despite the fact that in both the 2005 and 2006 Green Book the advice given to those who wished to change their mortgage was: “Please consult us in advance. There are strict rules on the costs that can be claimed, and you may need to change the nomination of your main home”. While Mrs Miller has consistently told us that she never intended to claim the interest on the £50,000 mortgage increase revealed by the Commissioner’s initial investigation, there is no documentation as to how she apportioned her claims, and towards the end of the period in some months she not only claimed for the entire mortgage interest charged, but appears to have claimed slightly more than that interest”
If she can’t play by Commons rules and tried to block the investigation, how exactly is she fit for high office?