Sajid Javid. Published on Wikimedia Commons

Sajid Javid appointed as culture secretary

Rebecca Atkinson, 09.04.2014
Maria Miller steps down over expenses row
Sajid Javid, the former financial secretary to the treasury, is to take over as culture secretary after Maria Miller stepped down following the ongoing row over her expenses.

In a letter to the prime minister Miller, the MP for Basingstoke, said “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”.

She added: “I am immensely proud of what my team have been able to achieve during my time in government: ensuring that our arts and cultural institutions receive the rightful recognition that they deserve in making Britain great; putting women front and centre of every aspect of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s work; [and] putting in place the legislation to enable all couples to have the opportunity to marry regardless of their sexuality.”

David Cameron said he was sad Miller was leaving government and hoped she could return to the cabinet “in due course”.

Last year Miller was accused of making false allowances claims, following a complaint by Labour MP John Mann. The complaint related to a mortgage on a second home in Wimbledon, which she brought nine years before her election to parliament in 2005 and shared with her partner, children and parents.

The parliamentary commissioner for standards cleared Miller of making false expenses claims, although she was recommended to repay the £45,000 she had overclaimed for expenses.

The Commons Committee for Standards later reduced this to £5,800. She was also told to apologise to the House of Commons because her "attitude" to the inquiry had breached the parliamentary code of conduct.

Maurice Davies, head of policy and communication at the Museums Association, said: "Before we all shout for joy too loudly, it's worth recognising that Miller was a significant improvement on Jeremy Hunt, her predecessor, whose only interest in culture often seemed to be how far he could cut it.

"Miller could have been far better, of course, but she did latterly 'get' culture and appears to have had some impact on the attitudes of more important cabinet players such as chancellor George Osborne and education secretary Michael Gove, hence government's introduction of theatre tax breaks and, announced today, better-than-expected support for arts GCSEs.”

Miller replaced Hunt as culture secretary in September 2012 following a cabinet reshuffle. It was her first cabinet post.

Javid's former role will be filled by Nicky Morgan, who will also be minister for women. A wider cabinet reshuffle is expected in the summer.

Update
09.04.2014

This article was updated to include details of Sajid Javid's appointment and a comment from Maurice Davies.

Comments

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10.04.2014, 11:30
Or his financila/treasury background may continue the work built upon with Maria Miller e.g. changing attitudes, benig more progressive with tax and funding changes which may help museums, particularly smaller ones.
Judith Martin
Project Organiser, Industrial Buildings Preservation Trust
09.04.2014, 21:13
Yes, but what does the MA make of her successor? If he's ever spoken about culture I'm not aware of it (and neither are the standard websites). I hope the treasury background doesn't mean even more financial focus and less of the arts for the pleasure they give - which, as you say, MM had grasped in her January keynote speech.