Jury hears of dry rot claim from former MP

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Former Labour MP Margaret Moran claimed nearly her entire annual allowance in one bogus expense entry, a jury heard.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard she submitted an invoice for £22,500 in August 2008 – just under the annual maximum expense allowance for an MP – to treat dry rot at her Southampton home, using the money instead to fund “home improvements”.

Moran, 57, MP for Luton South from 1997-2010, is accused of falsely claiming about £60,000 in parliamentary expenses between 2004 and 2008.

Jurors heard that she was able to make the dry rot claim by “flipping” her two homes – changing which property was her second home and therefore allowing her to claim expenses on it.

She also allegedly changed dates on invoices for the work so that the money would be paid.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said: “In reality, she secured the cost of extensive home improvements, at an address in Southampton that was not then her second home, at public expense.”

Moran is accused of falsely claiming thousands of pounds by submitting fake invoices.

One in August 2007 was for £14,805 – apparently for boiler repairs and work on her conservatory in her constituency home in Luton, when it was actually at her house in Southampton.

Moran of St Denys in Southampton is accused of 15 charges of false accounting and six of using a false instrument.

She was found unfit to stand trial because of mental health concerns, so proceedings are taking place in her absence. Jurors have to decide whether she did commit the acts alleged in the charges, and whether they amount to the offences with which she is charged. The case continues on Monday.