Maria Miller, the UK's culture secretary, who came under fire last week for obstructing an inquiry into expense claims made by her, resigned from the cabinet Wednesday.
According to reports, Miller’s brief, 32-second public apology last week over her handling of the expense probe, angered her colleagues. An official inquiry found that she had wrongly claimed about $9,700 in living expenses and Miller agreed to pay the amount that was over-claimed by her. And, according to Reuters, Miller announced her resignation hours before Prime Minister David Cameron, who had been accused by political opponents for lacking judgment in failing to dismiss Miller earlier, was expected to hold a meeting with his MPs about the controversy.
"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," Miller wrote in her resignation letter.
In a reply to the resignation, Cameron wrote: “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.”
Cameron made an announcement on his Twitter feed Wednesday that Sajid Javid, the financial secretary to the Treasury, will be the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and Equalities. In another tweet, Cameron announced that he has promoted Nicky Morgan as the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He added that Morgan will also take over Miller’s role as minister for women.
Some of the MPs had reportedly begun to worry that the controversy could damage the party’s image and weaken their chances of winning a national election in 2015. John Mann, Labour Party politician, who had originally called for a probe into Miller’s expense claims, said that the recent row had exposed Cameron as a weak leader.
"Maria Miller should have resigned immediately and when she didn't resign David Cameron should have shown a bit of leadership and he should have sacked her," he told BBC Radio.