MARIA MILLER, under fire for her expenses claims, has resigned as Culture Secretary this morning.

Mrs Miller, the MP for Basingstoke, had been ordered to pay back £5,800 in money she claimed for the mortgage of a house she had claimed was her second home.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood had earlier this week said her Conservative colleague had serious questions to answer over the scandal.

Mrs Miller told David Cameron the row over her expenses had "become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing".

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "sad" at the circumstances of her departure and hoped she could make a return "in due course" but was accepting her resignation.

It follows days of mounting public and political pressure on the MP to quit and signs she was losing support among Tory colleagues despite Mr Cameron's backing.

Yesterday Mrs Miller, writing for the Oxford Mail's sister paper the Basingstoke Gazette, said: "I am devastated that this has happened, and that I have let you (her consistuents) down."