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Surprise choice who infuriated many

Maria Miller was something of a surprise choice when she was promoted to Culture Secretary in September 2012.

She had impressed David Cameron and infuriated the political left in her previous role as minister for the disabled - notably closing down dozens of loss-making Remploy factories and complaining that the jobless lacked the "appetite" to work.

As a comprehensive-educated mother of three, she was also seen as adding much-needed balance to the Conservative side of the Government.

But Mrs Miller was quickly thrown into controversy over the Leveson report on reforming press regulation.

While campaigners for a tough new system underpinned by law felt she was too soft, many in the media were furious at the way she handled negotiations and pushed through a deal.

Her aides have suggested that the row was behind a "witch hunt" over her historic expenses claims.

The Daily Telegraph highlighted questions about the fact that her parents lived with her in the house for which she received allowances at the end of 2012.

It was the subsequent lengthy inquiry by standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson that ended her tenure in government.

But Mrs Miller's position had already been eroded by her stewardship of gay marriage legislation through Parliament last year, which was unpopular with a large section of the Conservative Party and alienated many.

Mrs Miller, 48, was elected as MP for Basingstoke in 2005 and was made shadow minister for education in David Cameron's first frontbench team.

Before entering Parliament she was a director of Grey Advertising and Rowland Saatchi and also did a stint in marketing for oil company Texaco.

Born near Wolverhampton, she was brought up in Bridgend, Wales, attending the same school as Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, and went on to study at the London School of Economics.

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