PM backs Culture Secretary over 'threats' to newspaper

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Maria Miller replaced Jeremy Hunt as Culture Secretary following September's reshuffle. Photo: PA

The Prime Minister has confidence in his Culture Secretary Maria Miller, his spokesman insisted today.

It follows claims that her special adviser Joanna Hindley threatened the Daily Telegraph over a story about Mrs Miller's expenses.

"My understanding is that the special adviser was raising legitimate concerns about the way the investigation had been handled," the spokesman said.

"She made clear that Maria Miller was in contact with the editor [of the Telegraph] and would be raising those concerns directly, and a letter was sent."

The Daily Telegraph disclosed details of the conversation between its reporter and the special adviser to highlight what it claimed were "the potential dangers of politicians being given a role in overseeing the regulation of the press."

The special adviser Miss Hindley apparently warned off the journalist, saying: "Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors' meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about."