A Labour MP accused of conning a local council out of £64,000 in housing benefits 'acted dishonestly' to make personal gain and 'jump the queue' on the social housing register, a court heard today.
Apsana Begum, 31, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in east London, claimed she was living in 'overcrowded conditions' with her family when she was in a four-bedroomed house with three other people, jurors were told.
She successfully gained a social housing tenancy in under four months, rather than the average three-year wait, due to her claims, a court heard.
Begum, who is on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, also did not tell police when she moved in with her partner, local councillor Ehtashamul Haque, and later blamed him for making an application to Tower Hamlets in her name, it is claimed.
The MP, who won the east London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority in the general election in December 2019, denies three counts of fraud.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Apsana Begum (left and right in court), 31, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in east London, claimed she was living in 'overcrowded conditions' with her family when she was in a four-bedroomed house, jurors heard
The alleged incidents relate to periods between January 2013 and March 2016, in which the London Borough of Tower Hamlets alleges housing Begum cost £63,928 in rent.
Begum said she 'vigorously contests these malicious and false allegations' that she failed to tell the council that she was no longer living in overcrowded conditions when she made her claims.
Today, prosecutor James Marsland told jurors they must consider whether Begum's case comprises of her 'misfortune for things occurring' or 'significant facts which count against her.'
He said: 'Now you know that Ms Begum says that this property at Woodstock Terrace, Poplar, was always a three-bedroom house. There's no real room for mistake there.
'If you walked into the living room and noticed a bed in there, you'd back yourself.
'Ms Begum's aunt has said in August 2009 that the property is four beds and has gone on to set out the various people living in those bedrooms. It's not a slip of the pen is it?
'This is part of the application by Ms Begum's mother for council tax benefit. She says the property at this point was used as four bedrooms.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'Is it just misfortune that Ms Begum's mother and Ms Begum's aunt made the same inexplicable mistake, or is it again a significant fact that counts against Ms Begum?
'There would be no reason to exaggerate the number of rooms.
'On 21 May 2013, we know that Ms Begum is taken or escorted from Woodstock Terrace, Poplar to St Bernard Terrace, Whitechapel.
'On 14 June 2013, we know that that's the date given by Ms Begum that she told council tax customer services about the change of address. She tried to ride two horses on this.
'In any event, she knew she needed to tell Tower Hamlets Housing Options. It only takes a moment to think about it.
The MP, who won the east London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority in the general election in December 2019, denies three counts of fraud
'The prosecution would say that she is specifically avoiding telling housing options. Then we reach another fork in the road.
'Ms Begum says around this time, she did tell Housing Options. Is it her misfortune that nobody logged it and nobody