Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Lady in Red
The lady in red won't be smiling over her muesli this morning. After detectives spending several months looking into the claims Margaret Moran made when MP for Luton South, it is reported she is expected to be charged within weeks.
Miss Moran, you will remember, claimed for than £20,000 for the treatment of dry rot at her Southampton home which is almost 100 miles from either Westminster or her former constituency. When her claim came to light she insisted she had done nothing wrong by 'flipping' her second home between Westminster, Luton and Southampton and, over four years, spent thousands of pounds on decorating each one in turn. Since that statement she signed off sick from Parliament because of the 'stress' of the situation and within months had been deselected by her local Labour party. Since leaving, with what is thought to be a £55,000 'golden handshake', she is in the process of selling her taxpayer-funded constituency home for £250,000 - a profit of £177,000.
According to the Telegraph, the police have been very thorough in their investigations. One receipt, for work to replace a boiler and associated work at her Luton property for more than £14,000 is from a company which is not registered. The VAT number provided on the invoice is not valid according to HMRC. The address on the invoice is residential. The builder who lives there said yesterday that he had been contacted by the police and he denied fitting a boiler for Miss Moran.
She is now set to join four other Labour politicians facing court over their expenses claims. The first trial, of former minister Elliot Morley, is due to begin on 22 November.
Ms Moran has built up quite a property portfolio so she has plenty in the bank to provide the fees for a top legal team. The evidence appears to be stacking against her so she'll need the best.