LONDON: Labour MP Apsana Begum has vowed to “vigorously contest” housing fraud charges after being accused of cheating her way to a £300,000 east London council flat.
The 30-year-old Jeremy Corbyn ally was given the one-bedroom home on the Isle of Dogs by Tower Hamlets council following the breakdown of her marriage.
The MP for Poplar and Limehouse, who was elected to Parliament in December 2019, has previously said the flat “provided me with the lifeline I needed to live independently and safely”, the Evening Standard has reported.
Following a council probe, Begum has been charged with three offences and is due to appear before Thames Magistrates’ Court on December 10.
It is said she failed to tell the council that she had made a previous application for housing in July 2011, and also concealed that she was “no longer living in overcrowded conditions” at a Poplar address, according to the charges.
When news of the investigation first emerged, the Shadwell-born MP denied any wrongdoing. A statement issued this morning by her lawyers said: “Ms Begum vigorously contests these malicious and false allegations.”
She has not yet entered formal pleas to three charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for yourself or another, which date from January 2013 to March 2016. Tower Hamlets Council said it “takes housing fraud very seriously” but declined to comment on Begum’s case.