In the Media

Expenses fraud MP Margaret Moran out and about

PUBLISHED November 25, 2012

Last week, Margaret Moran, the disgraced former Labour MP, was out strolling in a country park and making time for a drink in her local pub.

Earlier this month a jury concluded unanimously that the 57-year-old former member for Luton South, was culpable for more than 20 instances of fraud totalling £53,000.

The court heard how she billed the taxpayer £22,500 in August 2008 to treat dry rot at her seaside home 100 miles from her constituency.

It amounted to the largest single set of fraudulent claims uncovered in The Daily Telegraph's MPs' expenses investigation.

But she escaped a criminal record after a judge ruled she was "not fit mentally to defend herself" having heard that she was suffering from severe depression.

The jury was asked instead to make a finding of fact in her absence.

Photographs taken last week, just five days after the verdict, show her looking relaxed as she called into a pub in West End, Southampton, a few miles from her home, with her husband, Michael.

The couple were also seen around 20 miles away at Lepe Country Park, where they stopped off by a beach and took a stroll in fields with their pet terrier.

Dressed casually in an anorak and jeans she chatted with her husband

A decision on how she will be dealt with will be made at a later hearing although it is expected she will be placed under supervision.

Her barrister, Jim Sturman QC, called for her to be spared any punishment saying that she had suffered a "genuine total collapse of her mental state".

The Crown Prosecution Service is examining the possibility of recovering the funds.