PM backs minister over expenses

David Cameron has given his full backing to the Culture Secretary Maria Miller after a Parliamentary watchdog launched an investigation of her expenses.

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Telegraph publishes timeline of its minister expenses story

The Daily Telegraph has published a timeline of the sequence of events over its investigation and subsequent reporting of the Culture Secretary's expense claims "to set the record straight."

It says it was contacted by a source about the story nearly a month ago - on November 17.

It has also published emails between Maria Miller and the paper's editor Tony Gallagher:

Cameron gives Miller 'full support' over expenses

David Cameron has given his backing to Culture Secretary Maria Miller amid questions over her expenses.

"Maria Miller does an absolutely excellent job and she has my full support," the Prime Minister told reporters as he arrived at the EU Summit in Brussels.

"A newspaper has asked her a number of questions and as far as I can see she has excellent answers to all those questions," he added.

Miller denies using Leveson to threaten Telegraph editor

Maria Miller has denied that she had used her position overseeing the post-Leveson reforms of press regulation to ward off the Telegraph. She told the Evening Standard:

This has nothing to do with the Leveson inquiry. My concern is that any investigation is done in accordance with the rules, the Editors' Code. What I did was to contact the editor of the Telegraph directly to express my concern at the way his investigation was being undertaken.

The journalist hadn't contacted my office first. She had doorstepped a member of my family, a person who is not in public life, a person ill-equipped to deal with national media inquiries on my behalf.

Mrs Miller's special adviser, Joanna Hindley, reportedly told Telegraph reporters investigating her expenses: "Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors' meetings around Leveson at the moment. I am just going to flag up that connection for you to think about."

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Maria Miller says Sir Thomas Legg cleared her expenses

Maria Miller
Maria Miller said the Fees Office was "happy that everything was in order". Credit: PA

Maria Miller has said one of the two audits into her expenses had been carried out by former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg - who was called in to review all MPs' claims at the height of the expenses scandal - and the other by the Conservative Party.

Mrs Miller claimed second home allowances of £90,718 - almost the maximum permitted - between 2005 and 2009 towards mortgage payments, bills and other costs relating to a house where her parents had apparently been living since 1996.

Asked by the Evening Standard whether Sir Thomas was aware that her parents were living at her designated second home, Mrs Miller said: "I obviously spoke to the Fees Office about my claims and they were happy that everything was in order."

Downing Street and Telegraph battle over Miller claims

Culture Secretary Maria Miller
An aide for Maria Miller aide and No 10's top spin doctor both reportedly contacted the Telegraph. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Questions about Maria Miller's expenses have drawn the Culture Secretary into a further row about her office's dealings with the Daily Telegraph, whose investigation led to the commissioner's inquiry.

An aide to Mrs Miller was reported to have called the newspaper and said she wanted to "flag up" the Cabinet minister's connection to press regulation during discussions about a story on the Cabinet minister's expenses.

Downing Street's top spin doctor, Craig Oliver, also mentioned the Leveson press reforms in a telephone call to the Telegraph's editor.

No 10 insisted yesterday that Mr Oliver was highlighting concerns about the way the Telegraph carried out its investigation into Mrs Miller's expenses claims, rather than attempting to threaten the newspaper.

PM has 'full confidence' in Miller amid expenses claims

Maria Miller
Maria Miller was named Culture Secretary by the PM in September's reshuffle. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

David Cameron gave his backing to Culture Secretary Maria Miller amid the expenses claims.

Asked earlier today at a regular Westminster briefing if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Mrs Miller, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Yes, indeed he does."

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