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Prominent former MP declared unfit to face trial over parliamentary expenses charges

Member: Nifa

An ex-MP due to stand for trial accused of fiddling her parliamentary expenses has been declared unfit to stand trial.

NIFA News has learnt that, according to consultant psychiatrist Philip Joseph, the former member for Luton South, 56 year old Margaret Moran, is suffering from a depressive illness as well as extreme anxiety and agitation.

Dr Joseph told a procedural hearing at Lewes Crown Court before Mr Justice Saunders that she had tried to harm herself and there was a risk of suicide.

She was due to face trial on a range of charges centring on expenses claims totalling around eighty thousand pounds and involving three homes in London, Luton and Southampton. Other charges ranged from forgery to false accounting.

Among the allegations made, it is said that she dishonestly claimed over twenty two and a half thousand pounds to repair dry rot on her home in Southampton. A second allegation accused the former Parliamentarian of falsely claiming a further fourteen thousand pounds for boiler repairs and work on her conservatory.

Away from the case of Ms Moran, when the issue of parliamentary expenses claims first hit the headlines, there was talk of MPs "flipping" homes to increase their allowances. The practice involved repeatedly changing which of a Member’s two homes was declared as the main property. In this way, it was said that claimed expenses could be maximised by sidestepping time limits on how much could be claimed.

NIFA member David Winch told Andrew Castle, presenter on ITV’s former breakfast show GMTV, how the process worked, how an audit might be carried out, how long it might take and who would pay for it.