Far left Labour MP Apsana Begum has been acquitted on all three counts of housing fraud as her trial reached its conclusion on Friday. The MP for Poplar and Limehouse was accused of making three fraudulent housing applications between 2013 and 2016, before she became an MP. Much of her defence appears to have relied on her relationship with her husband, which it was said was 'controlling and coercive' and there were fears she may become the victim of 'honour violence'.
Begum's comrades in the Socialist Campaign Group were quick to congratulate her on the decision, including Burgon, Butler and Corbyn. John McDonnell had even given her a personal character reference in court. Many on the left criticised the decision of Tower Hamlets Council in bringing the prosecution, including Begum's comrade Grahame Morris who called it 'a malicious, politically motivated prosecution'. That would be a strange accusation to throw around considering that Tower Hamlets is run by their own party, but perhaps this belies the deep divisions that course through Labour. The current leader of the council is a centrist.
Following Begum's acquittal there was no comment from Labour leader Keir Starmer and a deafening silence from the moderates - not even Dave Lammy had anything to say. This is a deeply divided party.
|Apsana Begum pictured with far left colleague Claudia Webbe. Webbe goes on trial|
in September on a charge of harassment