Margaret Moran stood down at the 2010 general election

Margaret Moran faces expenses charges

Margaret Moran faces expenses charges

By Phil Scullion

Disgraced former Luton MP Margaret Moran is to face criminal charges in relation to her parliamentary expenses claims.

Ms Moran was considered to be among the worst offenders in the 2009 expenses scandal and was forced to stand down at the 2010 general election.

She is to appear at Westminster magistrates court on September 19th to face 15 charges of false accounting and six of forgery, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.

Keir Starmer QC, director of public prosecutions, said: "Having thoroughly reviewed the evidence gathered by the police, we have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Margaret Moran.

"These charges relate to fraudulent claims with a total value of more than £60,000."

Ms Moran is the fifth Labour MP to face criminal charges over expenses, following David Chaytor, Jim Devine, Eric Illsley and former minister Elliot Morley.

She was accused of "flipping" her second home by the Daily Telegraph, in order to claim £22,500 of taxpayers' money to treat dry rot at her and her partner's home in Southampton.

The newspaper referred to her claims as "the most questionable of any MP" and suggested that she had broken the "spirit" of the rules.

She was compared with her neighbouring MP, Kelvin Hopkins, who it was reported in 2009 had only claimed £8,894 in second home allowance over the previous five years.

In contrast Ms Moran had claimed £87,206. The two lived in the same street in Luton.

Despite widespread anger Ms Moran did not immediately resign, resulting in a 'Get Moran Out Now' campaign among local media outlets.

Instead she stopped attending parliament, citing an existing medical condition and saying that the expenses scandal had exacerbated it.

Ms Moran faced public condemnation once again in 2010 when she was featured on Channel 4's Dispatches programme, in which she appeared to offer influential political lobbying for financial reward.

The sting operation resulted in her suspension from holding office in the Labour party.