Apsana Begum MP
Ms Begum was also a supporter of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as being one of those Scary Muslims™, and so when she was accused of three counts of making dishonest applications for council homes to Tower Hamlets Council, the idea of her being innocent until such time as she might have been proven guilty went out the window.
In the vanguard of this routine exercise in nudge-nudgery were the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who kicked off in January with “she has been accused of cheating her way to a £300,000 council home in Tower Hamlets”. Earlier this month, readers were told that she “is facing 3 charges of fraud over her mysterious ability to leapfrog the 18,000-long waiting list for a council flat (despite having no children)”.
When former shadow chancellor John McDonnell appeared as a character referee at the trial, the Fawkes massive sneered “McDonnell confesses he was hoping to take her on as a PPS had Labour won in 2019, saying he had confidence in her judgment, ability and dedication. Damning”. And their press pals were of a degree worse.
The Mail told its readers “Labour MP Apsana Begum, 31, 'conned council out of £64,000 after using her connections as a housing advisor to get a studio flat - then blamed her 'controlling' husband,' court hears”. Last week, that was upgraded to “Labour MP Apsana Begum 'acted dishonestly' to 'jump the queue' on the social housing register, court hears”.
And the Murdoch Sun was in its element, as earlier this month it howled “‘HOME SCAM MP’ … Labour MP Apsana Begum accused of cheating a council out of £64,000 in a housing scam”. As the Tweeter known as SunApology has noted, other headlines from the paper included “MP ‘FRAUD’” [subtle, eh?] and “CORBYNISTA’S ‘HOME SCAM’”.
Yesterday afternoon, though, the BBC reported that “A Labour MP has been cleared in court of making fraudulent housing claims … Ms Begum said the accusations had been ‘driven by malicious intent’”. She added “As a survivor of domestic abuse facing these vexatious charges, the last 18 months of false accusations, online sexist, racist and Islamophobic abuse, and threats to my safety have been exceedingly difficult”.
Not that our free and fearless press, and their boot boys in the New Media, care too much about that. Their only regret is that there was no scandal, and therefore no chance of their being able to kick the Labour Party all the way through another by-election campaign.
Something which I’m sure the Labour leadership will be keen to address in the coming days, whether or not Ms Begum was a Corbyn supporter. I’ll just leave that one there.
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