A Labour MP accused of conning a local council out of £64,000 in housing benefits to 'dishonestly' obtain a studio flat 'needed protection' from her brother after she married a man her family disliked, a court heard today.
Apsana Begum, 31, claimed she was living in 'overcrowded conditions' with her family when she was in fact in a four-bedroom house with three other people, jurors have been told.
She also did not tell police when she moved in with her partner, Ehtasham Haque, and later blamed him for making an application in her name, it is claimed.
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Apsana Begum, 31, claimed she was living in 'overcrowded conditions' with her family when she was in fact in a four-bedroom house with three other people, jurors have been told
The MP, who denies three counts of fraud dating from January 18 2013 to March 31 2016, won the east London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority in the general election in December 2019.
Jurors heard Begum left her family home in Poplar in 2013 because of a dispute over her partner being a divorcee, and felt she was under threat from her brother.
Reading out the agreed facts of the case at Snaresbrook Crown Court, James Marsland, prosecuting, said Begum thought 'her family didn't like Mr Haque because he was divorced' and was 'finding the situation... stressful'.
'Her brother was aware that she had taken her passport and wrongly thought she had taken it to run away.
'She was asked [by the police] if she was at danger of honour-based violence. She was feeling a bit worried.
'In their risk assessment, the police noticed that her brother was using controlling behaviour.'
In an interview transcript read to the court, Begum said she had been going through 'a lot of turmoil' and was 'escaping an abusive situation' after leaving her family home in Poplar.
'Essentially it was a situation where there was