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Baroness Uddin 'escaped' social housing loophole

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:43 05 October 2010

Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green

Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green

BARONESS Uddin caught up in a controversy over escaping criminal prosecution because of a legal loophole has also benefited from a housing loophole, it has emerged this week.

By Else Kvist

BARONESS Uddin caught up in a controversy over escaping criminal prosecution because of a 'legal loophole' has also benefited from a housing loophole, it has emerged this week.

The Labour peer who lives in a three storey property owned by Spitalfields housing association "could not be chucked out" because the tenancy is believed to be in her husband's name, according to a council insider.

The claim was put to the Advertiser after the Crown Prosecution Service announced last Friday that the former deputy leader of Tower Hamlets would not be facing criminal charges over her Lord's expenses.

Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green was investigated over allegations she claimed £100,000 in expenses by declaring a flat in Maidstone, Kent, her main home while living in Wapping.

But House of Lords rules allowing peers to stay just once a month at their main home created a 'legal loophole' making it difficult to prove peers misused their expenses, according to prosecutors.

Spitalfields Housing Association received £37.8m in public subsidy in 2008 and normally a socially rented property has to be the tenant's only or main home.

Its chief executive Omar Mapara said: "We sought legal advice and were advised the tenancy agreement had not been broken."

The council insider said: "It is believed the tenancy was transferred to her husband while she owns the house in Kent. Therefore they could not chuck them out."

Mr Mapara said the tenancy details were confidential.

Tower Hamlets Tory deputy leader Tim Archer is now calling on the council to set up an independent inquiry into whether the Baroness should live in public funded housing.

For full story see this week's Advertiser


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