The Westminster expenses scandal done a tremendous amount of damage to the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
A few people got put in prison, sacrificed to the baying mob of public discontent.
We had a new regulator, and the promise of higher standards.
So, what does the Maria Millar scandal say?
It says that if you are a government minister and get caught fleecing the taxpayer of tens of thousands of pounds, you get a slap on the wrist and pay a small portion of the money you fleeced back.
Maria Millar has no business being a Minister of the Crown; David Cameron should rcognise that her position is untenable and he should publicly sack her.
Not let her resign, sack her.
In order to try and generate sympathy Ms. Millar has gallantly said she expects to pay thousands of pounds in capital gains tax after making a £1.2 million profit on a home.
Part-funded by the taxpayer, the cross-party Commons Standards Committee has also ordered that she pay back £5,800 in over claimed mortgage expenses and say ‘sorry’.
In my opinion, fuck ‘sorry’, she should be paying the other £40,000 back that an independent report recommend and still sacked.
Her aides said she would not seek to dodge a bill.
How mighty big of her!
As to how ‘sorry’ Maria Millar is, that ran to a miserable 32-second apology on the floor of the House.
32 seconds, if you blew your nose while it happened you would have missed the bulk of it.
David Cameron in an extraordinary display of weak leadership defended Millar insisting she was doing a "good job", good job when not fleecing the taxpayer for tens of thousands?
Cameron also said he was "very open" to looking at ways of improving the policing system for MPs.
If it wasn’t so serious, you could laugh, but the wider point is that this episode erodes trust, doing nothing, erodes trust, and the cross party lip service committee is unfit for purpose.
Miller bought the property in Wimbledon for £234,000 in 1996; she sold it for £1.5 million.
Parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson says that Millar should have designated it as her primary residence, and received expenses in her Basingstoke constituency.
Labour has made a formal complaint to Kevin Barron, chairman of the standards committee, about the way Tory MP Mrs Miller apologised for failing to cooperate fully with Ms Hudson's investigation.
Whether that goes anywhere remains to be seen, but it looks like politics rather than any real decision to not tolerate this kind of behaviour.
Labour MP John Mann, whose complaint sparked the commissioner's investigation into Mrs Miller's claims, said the Standards Committee had "no credibility whatsoever".
"The general public is pretty much unanimous, if not totally unanimous, that MPs should not sit in judgment on themselves. I totally agree. The longer Parliament delays sorting this out, the worse it is for our democracy and the institution of Parliament. Having the committee overrule the independent commissioner means this committee has no credibility whatsoever. Its power to sit in judgment over fellow MPs should now be removed. The sooner the penny drops, the better."
Mann rightly said:
"The question I'm getting all the time is 'what has happened to honour in British politics?'"
Well, politics is ruled by a career class political group in the main, they have no concept of honour.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve told BBC Radio 4's The World At One:
"I can't answer on Maria Miller's behalf. The Prime Minister has explained his position and I don't think I have anything to add”.
So much for the Attorney General!
Although Cameron is backing Maria Millar, she wouldn’t have the public’s support and come the general election in 2015, the people in her area should get another MP, quoite simply, she has to go!
No one has a problem with legitimate expenses being claimed, the problem is people who set themselves above the rules.
The offshoot of the last major Westminster expenses scandal was the installation of the SNP in Holyrood, if Cameron doesn’t act and remove Millar, he could witness the installation of Ukip as a force.
Something to think about, how does 'call me Dave' fancy a coalition government with Ukip?
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University