Spanish link to UK expenses saga MP

LAST UPDATED: 19 May, 2009 @ 13:02
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Spanish link to UK expenses saga MP

Three second homes and a luxury escape in Spain – the Labour MP who ‘acts like an English imperialist from the days of the Raj’

CASHING IN: MP Moran has made money renting her ‘fourth’ home, a luxury property in the Alpujarras
CASHING IN: MP Moran has made money renting her ‘fourth’ home, a luxury property in the Alpujarras

AN MP in hot water after claiming expenses to renovate various second homes in the UK, has a fourth property in Andalucia that has been rented out on a commercial basis, the Olive Press can reveal.

Margaret Moran reportedly ‘flipped’ her second home between Westminster, Luton and Southampton, claiming thousands on each in turn.

At the same time, she has rented out the four-bedroom villa in Granada at various times since buying it in 1984.

The Labour MP, who charged taxpayers £22,000 for dry rot treatment at a home her husband owns in England, used a local agent to organise the rentals.

Holiday lettings agency Rustic Blue confirmed to the Olive Press that it had rented out the luxury property in Padre Eterno, near Orgiva on a number of occasions.

“Moran is supposed to be a Labour MP but she is behaving like an English imperialist from the days of the Raj. She should buy herself a villa in Marbella and be done with it”

While the agency, based in Bubion, is no longer renting out the property, which is joint owned by her brother John, a spokesman said: “I remember the house. We used to rent it, but it is no longer on our books.

“I can’t remember what it was on for, but we used to rent it through a local friend, who was in charge of the property and garden.

“It was a popular place and in a charming spot.”

While there is no suggestion of impropriety over the rentals, her true socialist values were called into question after she bulldozed an access path to dozens of neighbours’ homes.

The Olive Press reported how she had been forced to call police after becoming embroiled in a vicious neighbour’s dispute over the path.

Her neighbours called a protest, insisting that the path had been used for more than 20 years by verbal agreement.

Eventually the MP for Luton South was ordered by a judge in 2007 to reopen the path. She later lost an appeal.

At the same time Miss Moran was accused of breaching parliamentary rules by pinning a notice to her gatepost using official House of Commons paper.

The notice, which she denied to the Olive Press, had warned neighbours not to come on her land.

When the story appeared in the British Press, Miss Moran contacted solicitors then claimed their £881.25 bill through her Incidental Office Expenses account, which is meant to cover the running of her constituency office.

Unsocialist

The claim was waived through by the fees office. However in 2007-08, she bought a fridge and blinds that were delivered to her Luton property. The House of Commons said: “you wouldn’t be able to use the IEP to furnish homes”.

The fees office did reject some of Miss Moran’s claims, however. It refused to pay a £47 bill from a printer for Christmas cards and £164.50 for birthday cards.

As The Daily Telegraph disclosed, Miss Moran ‘flipped’ her second homes over four years, spending thousands of pounds on decorating each one in turn.

First, she installed a new £4,756.40 kitchen, fitted a £2,678 carpet and bought a bed worth £527.20 for a flat near the House of Commons.

Miss Moran then switched her second-home designation to Luton and spent £2,350 on the garden, £1,823.09 on bathroom repairs, £212.50 on bedding and £4,200 on decorating.

Finally, she changed her second home to the semi-detached property in Southampton, which her husband has owned since 1988, and soon after claimed £22,500 for the dry rot treatment, a fraction less than the maximum allowance available for the whole year.

The fees office said she had broken the “spirit” of the rules, but admitted it was powerless to reject her claims.

Miss Moran said: “It is all within the claims policy and that’s why I’m angry about this because it gives the incredibly misleading impression that somehow we’ve been dodgy, that we’ve been fraudulent or we’ve been corrupt.

“Nothing is further from the truth.”

After losing her battle to block access paths in 2007, neighbours described her behaviour as “mean, bloody-minded and tawdry.”

“It was completely unsocialist behaviour,” said neighbour Nick Nicholson, who works in the oil industry.

Another neighbour Nuri went further. “Moran is supposed to be a Labour MP but she is behaving like an English imperialist from the days of the Raj. She should buy herself a villa in Marbella and be done with it.”

9 COMMENTS

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  1. This must be the OPs answer to rebalance the coverage of Spanish corruption, which seems to forever fill the paper.
    Hardly akin to the corruption in Marbella though, is it?!

    What you will find is that these MPs acted totally within the letter of the rules, but not within the “spirit” of the rules. I hope that they are formally charged but it’s not going to happen because the rules were written in such a way that they could be abused. All of the MPs who have claimed in this way (flipping houses and reclaiming, or claiming for completely unrelated expenses, e.g. moat cleaning!) should be sacked, and of course that is what will happen in a democracy by the constituents at the soon to be arriving election. They can also have the whip removed. At least Cameron acted fast; Brown is on his way out.

  2. Fred,

    Claiming for a mortgage which has already been paid off is not “totally within the letter of the rules”, not to mention the spirit. The word “criminal” comes to mind. Two cases like that have already been unearthed, and I bet there are many more surprises to come. All the others were sailing close to the wind anyway…

    Immoral, corrupt, culture of entitlement – these all sound familiar to many who live in Spain and read about property etc – but I’m describing many UK MPs. Parliament is a pillar UK democracy – not some CDS ayuntamiento. What we are seeing in the UK is in a completely different league to Marbella. I think we Brits have a lot to be ashamed of.

  3. Justin, I am afraid it may well be within the letter of the rules, since otherwise the Police would have already cautioned and made arrests. When you can tell me just which English law has been broken then we can get somewhere with the argument. This position may change in the near future as the cases have been referred to the Metropolitan Police.

    At the end of the day I know that an MP can be de-selected or have the whip withdrawn, or be expelled from a party, or all three. Election coming – a democracy will decide which MPs are selected. These English MPs should be charged and brought to Court.

    I am not personally ashamed of anything since all of politics is inherantly corrupt, irrespective of countries and races. Since this is a Spanish forum I will comment on the Spanish issues at hand and the MP who has a home in Spain should resign and pay all monies back (if she has not already) because her individual case shows ridiculous greed, and she knows that she cannot wriggle out of it.

  4. Not only that but today 20th. May I hear on the the news that staggeringly Ms. Moran is being wholly supported by her constituency party in Luton… amazing huh?
    The only way to sort this if for a GE easily brought about in a few weeks by all Conservative and Lib.Dems resigning en bloc. Today. I bet they haven’t the ‘balls.’ None of them have….

  5. Democracy in action, Victor. Perhaps she is an excellent MP who really helps her constituents. Did that outcome occur to you? Still, an election is looming and then people can have the ultimate say. Ms Blears also had the backing of her constituency party I also read today…

    Remember the nice man who used to run Marbella? He would spend Mrs Moran’s yearly expenses on a single dinner lol.

  6. Shes been banned great news but has she commited a crime? I for one hope so, so she can be made to repay the lot.
    Thats the best way to deal with crooks, make them pay back the lot and also get a spell in prison.
    All bank robbers are now learning to say, “sorry it was a dredful mistake”

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