Former Luton MP 'received £53,000 in false expenses', court told

Former Luton South MP Margaret Moran received £53,000 by making false expenses claims, a court has heard.

The 57-year-old, of Ivy Road, St Denys, Southampton, is accused of 15 charges of false accounting and six of using a false instrument over the claims for parliamentary expenses.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the jury her claims made between 2004 and 2008 totalled around £60,000, and that Moran received around £53,000 to which she was not entitled.

The former Labour politician was found unfit to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court due to mental health issues, so the proceedings are taking place in her absence.

Rather than finding her guilty, jurors have to decide whether Moran did commit the acts alleged in the charges, and whether they amount to the offences with which she is charged.

Mr Justice Saunders told them: "It would be unfair for you to be able to find her guilty when she has had no opportunity to give her side of the story.

"Doctors have said to require her to attend court could have serious consequences for her physical health."

It is alleged that the former MP, who stood down at the last election, "flipped" her designated second home, making claims for properties in London, Luton and Southampton.

One of the 21 charges she is facing relates to a claim for £22,500 to treat dry rot at her Southampton home.