A Labour MP has been found not guilty of housing fraud.
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, was cleared of three charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information relating to her Tower Hamlets council housing application by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
The 31-year-old collapsed and wept in the dock as the verdicts were announced.
Begum faced three counts of dishonestly failing to disclose information relating to her council housing application during three periods between January 2013 and March 2016.
Tower Hamlets Council, which brought the prosecution, alleged that the cost to the local authority was £63,928, because someone else on the housing list had to be given accommodation elsewhere.
Ms Begum, who sits on the House of Commons’ education committee, was elected to parliament with a 28,904 majority at the 2019 general election.
Apsana Begum tweeted:
My statement following today’s verdict: pic.twitter.com/Q0KMQkrsBI— Apsana Begum MP (@ApsanaBegumMP) July 30, 2021
Speaking after the verdict was given, the Labour MP thanked those who stood by her during the trial.
“This case has been driven by malicious intent and has caused me great distress and damage to my reputation,” she said.
“I would like to say a sincere thank you to all my legal team and all those who have shown me solidarity, support and kindness.
“As a survivor of domestic abuse facing these vexatious charges, the last 18 months of false accusations, online sexist, racist, and Islamophobic abuse, and threats to my safety, have been exceedingly difficult.
“I also thank the jury for vindicating me, and the judge for presiding over this trial. I will be consulting and considering how to follow up so that something like this doesn’t happen again to anyone else
“I would now like to get on with my job of representing my constituents – opposing the negligent COVID decisions made by (Prime Minister Boris) Johnson’s reckless Tory government which has caused so many families to lose loved ones who should still be with us today and so much hardship that could have been avoided.
“My comrades and friends, in Poplar and Limehouse, and beyond, have stood by me, I have and will always stand by them.”