Maria Miller donates ministerial pay-off to local autism charity

The former culture secretary, who resigned after the furore about her expenses claims, will give £17,000 to the Basingstoke-based charity Speakeasy Advocacy

Maria Miller
Maria Miller

The former culture secretary, Maria Miller, has donated her ministerial severance pay, worth £17,000, to the autism and learning difficulties charity Speakeasy Advocacy.

Miller resigned as culture secretary yesterday after coming under pressure from fellow MPs, the public and the media in the wake of an inquiry into her expenses claims.

The Commons standards committee ordered Miller to pay back £5,800 for money wrongly claimed for a second home and to say sorry to MPs, which she did in a 32-second appearance in front of the House of Commons last Thursday.

Under parliamentary rules, the former culture secretary is entitled to a lump sum worth three months of her £68,000 ministerial salary, which is in addition to her salary for being an MP.

But a Conservative Party spokesman confirmed this morning that Miller would give her severance pay to Speakeasy Advocacy, which is based in her Basingstoke constituency in Hampshire.

John Mann, the Labour MP who made the initial complaint about Miller’s expenses claims, yesterday called on the former culture secretary to reject the severance payment.

"In light of Maria Miller’s conduct, it would now be inappropriate for her to claim severance pay after her resignation," he said. "For her to accept a pay-off would be a further insult to the taxpayer."

Miller is believed to have volunteered for the Speakeasy Advocacy in recent years.

The charity’s accounts for the year to March 2012 refer to its regular coffee mornings in which beneficiaries can enjoy a relaxed environment and chat with volunteers "including Maria Miller MP, who helps out".

According to accounts filed for the year to March 2013, the charity had an income of £152,000 and expenditure of £131,000.

The charity was contacted but nobody was available for comment.

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