Tower Hamlets MP Apsana Begum to face trial over housing fraud charges

Apsana Begum. Pic: UK Parliament

Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum appeared in court today over accusations she ‘jumped the queue’ to get a council house.

At Westminster Magistrate’s Court today, the Labour MP pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud.

Prosecutors say she applied to join Tower Hamlet’s social housing register in 2011 because of her “overcrowded accommodation” – but failed to notify them when she moved house three times afterwards.

Tower Hamlets council brought the case to court after an investigation earlier this year, alleging that housing her cost it £63,928 in rent.

The three similar counts of fraud relate to separate periods between January 2013 and March 2016, and allege Begum intended to “make a gain, namely social housing… for [her]self”. 

In a statement released when she was charged in late October, Begum, 30, said she “vigorously contests these malicious and false allegations.”

She was one of 26 new Labour MPs elected in 2019, winning the Poplar and Limehouse seat with a majority of nearly 30,000. A supporter of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum, she has spoken in Parliament about the impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities and sits on the Commons education committee.

 She was allowed to withhold her address from open court because of security reasons.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram granted Begum unconditional bail but ordered her to stand trial art a higher court due to the severity of the allegations. Begum will next appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on January 5.

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