There had been signals for months that the newspapers, especially the Daily Telegraph, were going to be tough on Miller when the standards committee reported last Thursday. No 10 already knew – because the Telegraph had revealed this – that Miller's special adviser had foolishly flagged up the link between its coverage of her expenses and the Leveson inquiry.
The pre-eminent issue over the past week was simply Miller's expenses, but there was also an element of a wider trial of strength between No 10 and the anti-Leveson press.
Given that fraught background, no one in No 10 seems to have thought to tell Miller that she needed to co-operate with the standards committee inquiry at every point. Instead, she prevaricated and sounded irritated. If the privilege of self-regulation was to work, MPs had a real duty to co-operate with that system.
Once found guilty of non-cooperation, she would have had to make more than a perfunctory, 30-second apology; instead, surrounded by supportive cabinet ministers including Sir George Young, the chief whip, she struck entirely the wrong tone.No-one in No 10 thought to tell Miller? She's not a child. A grown-up politician is supposed to be aware of political niceties. One could almost feel sorry for No 10 for having to cope with cabinet ministers of such incompetence - were it not for the fact that No 10 made the appointment in the first place.