Margaret Moran on trial – sort of

Disgraced former Labour MP for Luton South Margaret MoranOne of the things that I have regularly featured on this blog over the years is the disgrace of former Luton South MP Margaret Moran whose political career went up in flames when she was accused of a wholesale fiddling of her expenses.

That accusation finally went to trail last week at Southwark Crown Court. Although it is a pretty unusual trail.

Moran cannot be found guilty as she has been declared ‘unfit to plead’ due to mental illness. The jury will still have to decide whether or not the expense fiddling took place — but if the case is proven — no punishment will be given out. The Telegraph has a good explanation of this odd legal situation.

The trail should resume this morning.

More from me on Margaret Moran can be found here.

Margaret Moran may be too ill to face trail

My blogging has been rather light of late, but in the gap between Christmas and New Year I thought I’d try and catch up with a few posts. While it does seem a bit unpleasant to start with this in the festive season I feel I ought to start with the Luton related political news and the most significant story is the latest in the Margaret Moran saga. Something that I have been blogging about regularly here.

The news broke in the middle of December that legal arguments had been heard that the disgraced former Luton South MP, who is facing charges related to her expenses, may not be well enough to face trail because of the state of her mental health. Apparently she has been seen by several psychiatrists and that their opinion is that she is “unfit to plead”. There will be a hearing in the new year to decide wether the scheduled trail will now take place.

More here:

Mentally ill Moran is ‘unfit to plead’

Fitness to plead hearing for ex-MP

Margaret Moran ‘unfit to stand trial’

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Margaret Moran to stand trial in April

I’ve been a bit slow on following up on the latest on the Margaret Moran saga but we have now got a date for her trial.

I’d noted before that Moran was due to appear last Friday at Southwark Crown Court to face 21 charges of  fiddling her expenses to the tune of around £80,000. In the end she didn’t appear in person but a brief hearing set a provisional trial date for 18 April next year. A further pre trial hearing will be held in December.

Margaret Moran in court

As I previewed a while ago disgraced former Luton South MP Margaret Moran appeared in front of City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court today to face 21 charges of fraud and forgery related to her for parliamentary expenses.

She is next due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on October 28. There has been no indication whether she will plead guilty or innocent when she does so.

Here are some press reports:

Margaret Moran is “unsocialist and unsociable”

Having written something almost complimentary about former Luton South Labour MP Margaret Moran in my last post here I thought I ought to redress the balance. Luckily this tweet appeared in my Twitter feed today thanks to @lordbonkers and I thought it needed sharing.

This is how The Olive Press, “Spain’s No1 English news website”, reported the news that Moran is to face 21 expenses charges;

You can tell from the quotes in this article that British ex-pats who move to Spain soon lose touch with the mother country by the way they seem to think that most Labour MPs still describe themselves as socialists!

‘One neighbour Nick Nicholson….said: “She must be gutted. We did not come here for this petty, completely unsocialist behaviour. It is bloody minded and completely unsociable.”

Another neighbour Nuri added: “She is meant to be a socialist MP, but behaves like an English imperialist from the days of the Raj.”’

Margaret Moran to face 21 expenses charges

This blog has often in the past talked about the scandal surrounding former Luton South MP Margaret Moran and her parliamentary expenses. Today it was announced by the Director of Public Prosecutions that she will face 21 charges for allegedly claiming parliamentary expenses illegally when she appears in front of City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on the 19 September.

She will face 15 charges of false accounting and 6 charges of forgery.

The BBC has more: ‘Ex-Luton MP Margaret Moran facing 21 expenses charges

For more on the background to this you can read the full list of Margaret Moran related posts on this blog.

Margaret Moran may be charged over expenses

I am coming a bit late to this story but for completeness I thought I ought to record here the latest in saga of the expenses misdemeanours of former Luton South MP Margaret Moran.

Earlier this month the Telegraph reported that Moran was likely to face criminal charges over false expense claims; “MPs’ expenses: Margaret Moran may be fifth MP to face court“. The list of allegations makes for depressing reading.

Shuker and the Commons Communication Allowance

The Daily Express has a story criticising the advice that the new MP for Luton South Gavin Shuker gave to his predecessor Margaret Moran about the Commons Communication Allowance.

I am not sure there is really that much in this story, but then the news that Moran sought to gain maximum poltical advantage out of her use of the Comminications Allowance is not news to me. It will interesting to watch what Shuker does with this money.

Qurban Hussain’s record of action against Margaret Moran

One of the things raised in Michael Crick’s Newsnight story on Luton South was a criticism that the Liberal Democrats in Luton weren’t attacking enough on the issue of disgraced Labour MP Margaret Moran’s expenses. This was an unfair criticism. Luton South candidate Qurban Hussain and the Luton Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of the campaign against Moran’s abuse of the expenses system.

The evidence can be found online. For example;

As far back as last May, as the scandal broke, Qurban Hussain was condemning Margaret Moran over her excessive expense claims; ‘Lib Dem challenger condemns Luton South MP Moran for expense claims’. He was saying;

“This is not the first time that Ms Moran has been in trouble over her expenses. It is time she stopped trying to defend her indefensible and immoral lining of her own pocket at the taxpayers expense”

In October 2009 Qurban was one of the first people to sign up to a local paper’s anti Moran campaign; ‘Qurban Hussain supports Luton and Dunstable Express’ Margaret Moran Campaign’. He then proposed a motion to Luton Borough Council that condemned Moran and called on her to resign, a motion that the Labour Councillors rejected and amended.

In November Qurban wrote to Gordon Brown demanding that Moran have her resettlement grant cut; ‘I write to Gordon Brown over the Margaret Moran affair’. And then in December Qurban was demanding that the newly selected Labour candidate come clean about his attitude to the Moran expense scandal; ‘Where Does the Labour Candidate Stand On Moran?

Finally, you can find the statements made by Qurban in response to the recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme and her expulsion from the Labour party here. Including;

“So, after not working for her constituents for ten months the Labour Party has suspended Margaret Moran.

Far too little and far too late.

This will not stop her getting her payout in six weeks time and this certainly does not make up for for their total lack of concern for Luton South residents for the last ten months. Once again she has caused national outrage and the Labour Party should apologise to every single resident in Luton South.

We have been neglected while the Labour Party protected their own.

If she had done the last honourable thing she could have done for her constituents once the expenses scandal broke then she would have not been in a position to neglect us while trying to make money for herself. The Luton Labour Party should have stood up in support of local residents and called for her to resign, but they never did.”

Moran makes £177,000 profit on tax-payer funded house

I blogged yesterday with the news that disgraced Labour MP for Luton South Margaret Moran had sold her Luton house. I’ve since seen that the Telegraph is reporting that she will make a £177,000 profit on the sale. Nice for her, but remember that we the tax-payers have funded improvements to it, so not so nice for us.

“She “flipped” her second home designation to the house for just one year but in that time used £22,341 of public money on it, which included the installation of a new central heating system and bathroom, a complete overhaul of the garden and the redecoration of several rooms.”

More here; ‘MPs’ expenses: Margaret Moran sells taxpayer-funded Luton home for £177,000 profit

Miliband on Moran

Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband remarks on disgraced Labour MP Margaret Moran;

“She’s the exception not the rule.”

He made the statement on a visit to Luton. More on this here; ‘Miliband backs Mr Luton to hold on to Moran seat

Given the extent to which Moran took the taxpayer for a ride and the lack of representation given to the people of Luton South over the last months that is an extraordinarily weak and pathetic response. It is also not true.

Margaret Moran’s Luton house sold

Luton Today reports that Margaret Moran’s house in Luton has been sold; ‘Sicknote MP’s home snapped up for £260k

“Rarely seen since her shameful expenses abuse was revealed last year, the MP’s house in Alexandra Avenue has now been sold by Luton estate agents Haart after being put on the market for £259,950. A member of staff at the Haart’s Wellington Street branch would not comment on whether the MP had asked for a quick sale.”

Margaret Moran can’t work for her constituents but can write for Government Computing magazine

We all know that disgraced Labour MP for Luton South Margaret Moran has been officially “off sick” since the middle of last year. This has meant that she has not been seen around the constituency nor has she voted in Parliament during that period.

We have discovered recently, thanks to the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme, that while she has been too ill to serve her constituents, she seems to have sufficiently  recovered to attend interviews with fake American lobbying firms. Yet information has been passed to me that over the last year she has also been well enough to fulfil a regular journalistic assignment.

Apparently, a monthly column written by Margaret Moran has continued to appear in Government Computing magazine.

I am told that Moran’s final column appears in the April 2010 edition. It starts with these words;

“Following all the bad news about Parliament, the mood in the house is downbeat.”

I wonder how she knows given that she hasn’t been there?

Margaret Moran also describes what she sees as the success of Eurim, the parliamentary lobby group Eurim chaired by Ms Moran and funded by some multinational companies. She writes;

“I hope our members have felt we are good value”

Isn’t that nice? I wonder whether her constituents in Luton South feel she has been good value?

Moran taken to industrial tribunal

I feel I am blogging far too much about disgraced Labour MP for Luton South Margaret Moran, but I just keep finding more stories about her. The latest is that the Luton & Dunstable Express reports that she has been taken to an industrial tribunal:

“Shamed MP Margaret Moran has been taken to an industrial tribunal amid claims she unfairly sacked three of her former staff.”

Moran may have her ‘golden goodbye’ payment cut

Disgraced Luton South MP Margaret Moran may have her £56,000 ‘golden goodbye’ payment from parliament cut the Daily Mail reported last week.

I blogged previously with the news that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards was looking to re-start his stalled investigation into Moran. It now looks like he intends to complete it on time to effect the level of payment she will get when she leaves parliament.

You can read more here: ‘The Labour MP too sick to be quizzed on expenses but fit enough to lobby for a new job