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Poplar MP Apsana Begum named in Labour party anti-Semitism scandal as Jeremy Corbyn is suspended

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:41 29 October 2020

Poplar & Limehouse MP Apsana Begum during Parliamentary debate on Westferry housing controversy in January 2020... now nine months on facing allegations of anrti-Semitism. Picture: Commons TV

Poplar & Limehouse MP Apsana Begum during Parliamentary debate on Westferry housing controversy in January 2020... now nine months on facing allegations of anrti-Semitism. Picture: Commons TV

Commons TV

The Poplar & Limehouse MP is being formerly investigated by the Labour Party on allegations of anti-Semitism, it has emerged.

Apsana Begum... explaining how she got council flat to audience at election hustings in Aldgate, December 2019. Picture: Mike BrookeApsana Begum... explaining how she got council flat to audience at election hustings in Aldgate, December 2019. Picture: Mike Brooke

The shock revelation about Apsana Begum came to light as the party’s former national leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended.

She is one of 15 MPs being investigated by Labour, as part of its “clean out” operation following condemnation today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The 30-year-old MP and former political advisor to disgraced ex-mayor Lufur Rahman faced allegations during last December’s general election about having retweeted anti-Semitic messages long before being selected as Labour candidate.

There were also allegations of jumping the housing queue which led to an inquiry by Tower Hamlets Council that have now resulted in criminal charges.

Tower Hamlets investigations into housing fraud. Picture: Mike BrookeTower Hamlets investigations into housing fraud. Picture: Mike Brooke

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said in a statement today to the East London Advertiser today: “Apsana Begum was selected as a candidate despite having accused (former prime minister) Tony Blair of ‘spreading Zionist propaganda’ and claiming the leaders of Saudia Arabia were ‘inspired by Zionist masters’.

“She has never been investigated or disciplined for these remarks. It was such failures of Labour that prompted us to refer the party to the Human Rights commission.

“Now the commission has published its verdict and we have submitted fresh complaints against numerous MPs over anti-Semitism, including Jeremy Corbyn and Apsana Begum.”

Corbyn was later suspended by the party, pending an investigation. The campaign was now “waiting further action from Labour” over Apsana Begum.

Apsana in her council flat on Isle of Dogs... joining Zoom debate on Tower Hamlets traffic scheme. Picture: ZoomApsana in her council flat on Isle of Dogs... joining Zoom debate on Tower Hamlets traffic scheme. Picture: Zoom

Her name cropped up in an East London Advertiser investigation five years ago on a list of paid political advisors to Lutfur Rahman, the disgraced Tower Hamlets Mayor later barred by the High Court in 2015 for malpractice in office. Her cut was £18,000, according to the list.

She was selected as Labour candidate when Momentum packed a meeting with her supporters at St Paul’s church hall in Limehouse in the summer of 2019 to get her name on the ballot paper.

It handed her a safe Labour seat on a plate, one that the retiring MP Jim Fitzpatrick had built up over 20 years.

Apsana was given a one-bed council flat on the Isle of Dogs “after a violent relationship” ended, she told an audience after being challenged about the housing queue at an election hustings at the Metropolitan University’s John Cass campus in Aldgate last December. She did not turn up at hustings the next night at Limehouse in her own constituency, where political opponents were ready with questions about the housing queue.

She went on to win the election, but was then faced with three town hall investigations into alleged housing fraud.

Begum has since been formerly charged for housing fraud on three accounts and is due before Thames magistrates on December 10.

The allegations include failing to tell the local authority about previous applications for social housing when applying for the flat and concealing that she was no longer in overcrowded conditions at an address in Poplar. She is accused of “dishonestly failing to disclose information” in order to make self gain between January 2013 and March 2016.


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