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Labour MP Apsana Begum accused of cheating a council out of £64,000 in a housing scam

A LABOUR MP is accused of cheating a council out of £64,000 in a housing scam, a court heard.

Apsana Begum, 31, is said to have deliberately withheld information to boost chances of obtaining a council flat.

Labour MP Apsana Begum is accused of cheating a council out of £64,000 in a housing scam

The court heard she applied to join the social housing register in 2011 and was on the list until 2016.

Her initial application was based on the fact she was in overcrowded conditions in the family home.

But the jury was told that on three occasions she failed to notify London Borough of Tower Hamlets Housing Options, which allocates social housing in the borough, of changes in her circumstance which would have pushed her down the list.

Prosecutor James Marsland told Snaresbrook crown court: “Ms Begum deliberately and dishonestly did not inform of significant changes to her circumstances. She knew that if she did, it would negatively impact her application.”

He said a council tax application by Begum’s mother in 2013 revealed she was living in a four-bed house with three other people.

Begum moved out of her family home in Poplar in 2013 to live with her future husband Ehtashamul Haque.

‘CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR’

She later split from Haque, accusing him of “coercive and controlling behaviour”, which she reported to police.

And in 2016 she got the tenancy of a studio flat from the council.

Mr Marsland said: “Ms Begum denies making any bids on social housing property after moving in with her partner.

“She says that they must have been made by someone without her knowledge. She says that person was likely Mr Haque, whom she says was controlling.

“She says she kept the London Borough of Tower Hamlets informed as best she could, including where she was going through difficult moments in her life.”

The court heard she worked as a housing adviser and must have had a good understanding of the social system and how it operated.

Begum, of East London, denies three counts of fraud. She won the East London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority in the 2019 election.

The trial continues.

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