• Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:11 pm

Bangladesh-origin British MP charged with housing fraud

  • Published at 10:23 pm October 29th, 2020
Apsana Begum
Apsana Begum Collected

The 30-year-old has been accused of three offences in relation to the £300,000 one-bed Isle of Dogs flat in east London, English media reported

A British parliamentarian with Bangladesh origin has been charged with housing fraud after questions arose over how she acquired her London council flat in just six months.

The 30-year-old has been accused of three offences in relation to the £300,000 one-bed Isle of Dogs flat in east London, English media reported.

Apsana Begum was elected a member of parliament (MP) in the UK general election 2019 for the first time from the Poplar and Limehouse constituency, as a candidate of the Labour Party. 

Apsana, who is considered an ally of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is said to “vigorously contest” the allegations, The Guardian reported.

The charges allege that Apsana failed to tell the Labour-run Tower Hamlets Council that she was “no longer living in overcrowded conditions,” A court official was quoted as saying by Sky News.

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: “The council takes housing fraud very seriously. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any specific allegations, but the public can be confident that any concerns are investigated by an experienced team, in line with our procedures.”

British tabloid newspaper The Sun, which revealed the charges, reported last November that Apsana was facing an investigation over the flat she moved into months after leaving her estranged husband’s home. 

The property is understood to be run by a housing association, but the tenants are nominated by the council.

Investigators reportedly wanted to know how she got to the top of an 18,000-strong waiting list so quickly, given she did not have children. 

The newspaper previously reported that Apsana denied wrongdoing, saying: “I was so grateful to be housed, which provided me with the lifeline I needed to live independently and safely.”

Apsana sits on the Commons education committee and has spoken in parliament about how Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

More recently, the MP voted in favour of Labour's motion to extend free school meals over holiday time until Easter 2021.

She is due to appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court on December 10.

Apsana has been politically active in Tower Hamlets for years, and in her 20s, she worked for another British public representative of Bangladesh origin, Labour mayor Lutfur Rahman, who was removed from office following electoral corruption.

In 2017, she was elected secretary of the local Labour Party before winning a 29,000 majority in last December's general election.

Apsana is a second generation British-Bangladeshi whose parents are originally from Jagannathpur, Sunamganj. 

Her father, Manir Uddin Ahmed, was also a Labour Party politician, a Tower Hamlets Community Housing Board director, and the 2004 mayor of Tower Hamlets.

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