Maria Miller was a “staunch supporter” of the creative industries and understood the indsutry’s contribution to the UK economy, director general of the IPA Paul Bainsfair has said following the former culture secretary’s resignation.
Miller resigned on Wednesday after mounting pressure over an expenses row. Miller was ordered to pay £5,800 back to the taxpayer by the Commons Standards Committee for using expenses to fund her parents’ home – a sum reduced from the recommended £45,000 – and her uncooperative attitude over the inquiry was criticised.
Concerns were then raised that the culture secretary, who was involved in the process for introducing press regulation following the Leveson Inquiry, might ‘use Leveson’ to get revenge on the press after one of her advisers told a Telegraph reporter that Miller’s Leveson connection was “something to think about” when investigating expenses claims.
Reacting to her resignation, Bainsfair said: “Maria Miller was a staunch supporter of the creative industries. She had worked at Grey Advertising earlier in her career and had a good understanding of advertising’s positive effect on the economy. She was in regular contact with the IPA and supported many of our initiatives.”
Meanwhile, the Hacked Off campaign group – which supports the government’s Royal Charter system of press regulation – said the news should have no effect on the process, which has faced severe opposition from the press industry.
“On press regulation government policy, with all-party support, should be regarded as settles,” said Dr Evan Harris, associate director of Hacked Off. “The culture secretary, quite rightly, has no role either in regulation of the press, in the Royal Charter or in the work of the Recognition Panel.
“If there is any lesson to be learned from this affair it is that those institutions or professions which ‘mark their own homework’ are liable to become unstuck, and this applies to newspapers as much as it does to MPs.”
Following Miller’s resignation, UK Prime Minister David Cameron quickly announced Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, as her replacement.