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Petitions calling for Maria Miller's resignation 'shut down by the government'

61 appeals on official government website shut down before they could garner sufficient signatures

The government has shut down 61 online petitions calling for Tory minister Maria Miller to be sacked over her second-home expenses scandal, the Morning Star can reveal.

Petitions demanding Ms Miller be sacked as Culture Secretary have been constantly created since she was ordered last week to repay a fraction of the £45,000 in taxpayer’s cash she wrongly claimed.

But every one of the petitions on the official government website was shut down before it could attract signatures.

Many of the rejected petitions expressed rising anger over both her dodgy expenses and the mere 30-second apology she gave to Parliament.

One petition by Stanley Melling said she should be sacked “over her expenses and attitude while being investigated.”

Another started by Laurence Murray said Ms Miller should face the courts.

“A member of the general public would be in court if they claimed benefits they were not entitled to,” Mr Murray wrote.

“Why should MPs be any different?”

A note beneath the rejected petitions stated that the issue was “outside the responsibility of government.”

Labour MP Ian Mearns labelled the clampdown an attack on “democracy and openness.”

Mr Mearns serves on Parliament’s backbench business committee, which has the power to call debates on e-petitions that receive over 100,000 signatures.

He told the Star: “It seems disgraceful in a democracy that over 60 petitions have been blocked.

“There should be an opportunity for people to voice their concern.

“The facility was started by this government for that reason and people should be listened to.”

A petition on Change.org calling on Ms Miller to repay wrongly claimed expenses or resign had attracted over 158,000 signatures when the Star went to print yesterday.

That would have smashed the 100,000 total needed to spark a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

Even Tory MPs are agitating for Ms Miller to quit and be forced to pay back the full £45,000 recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

A poll of Tory voters found one third were less likely to support the party after Mr Cameron’s handling of the scandal.

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