The Sun newspaper has reported that Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum has been charged with three offences including housing fraud and will appear at magistrates court on December 10th.
Investigation into Apsana Begum MP
Almost a year ago The Sun reported that Apsana Begum was being investigated by Tower Hamlets Council over allegations that she had wrongly secured a £330,000 Tower Hamlets Homes council flat on the Isle of Dogs.
It should be emphasised that Ms. Begum is innocent until proven otherwise and the Enquirer makes no comment on the truth of the allegations that have been made against her.
19,000 people on housing waiting list
There are approximately 19,000 people on the waiting list for social housing in the borough and the possibility of a single woman with no children being offered a council property are remote without extenuating circumstances.
Tower Hamlets Homes
In December 2019 LW Love Wapping revealed that Apsana Begum was employed by Tower Hamlets Homes as Diversity Officer in 2015 .
She had made no reference to her previous employment with Tower Hamlets Homes during her campaign to become the MP for Poplar and Limehouse.
In the same month the East London Advertiser reported on a fraught hustings where, in response to a question about the housing ‘queue jump’ claim, Apsana Begum told the audience that ‘she needed housing’ and stated that the allegations in the newspapers were not true.
“I was in particular circumstances and have requested press outlets that have asked me (about this) to respect the privacy of the context in which I was housed,” she said at the time.
Ms. Begum also said that “These are allegations and rumours, personal attacks that have been circulated by other candidates and parties.”
Recall of MPs Act
If a Member of Parliament is found guilty in a criminal court they may be subject to the provisions of the Recall of MPs Act 2015. The Speaker of the House of Commons can trigger the recall process under any one of three circumstances.
- The MP is subject of a custodial prison sentence of a year or less (longer sentences automatically disqualify MPs)
- MP has been suspended from the House for at least 10 sitting days or 14 calendar days
- Has been convicted of providing false or misleading expenses claims
Recall of an MP normally leads to a by-election.
In October 2016 Tower Hamlets Independent Cllr Shahed Ali was sentenced to five months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of housing fraud.
He was also served with a confiscation order requiring him to pay back £110,000 to Tower Hamlets council and £70,000 legal costs.