Margaret Moran helped husband gain £10,000 lights contract.
The Daily Telegraph has already disclosed allegations that she used Commons notepaper to warn villagers away from her fourth property in Spain, and that when the story was published she hired a leading firm of media solicitors to contest the claims and paid their £881.25 bill using her office allowance.
She is now facing questions as to whether she used her influence as an MP to win business for eQuality Networks (eQN), a non-profit “black and minority ethnic group-led social enterprise” of which her husband is a registered director.
Miss Moran’s parliamentary office put in a request to Luton borough council for festive lights to be put up in Bury Park, Luton. The local authority decided it could not give the money direct to local shopkeepers or install the illuminations itself, and so Miss Moran arranged for the £10,000 project to be handed to eQuality Networks instead.
She was the special guest when the lights, used to celebrate religious holidays including Christmas, Eid and Diwali, were switched on for the first time last December.
Her Annual Parliamentary Report stated: “Margaret successfully bid for new festival lights for Bury Park which will make this a more attractive trading area.”
A statement from Luton borough council read: “Luton borough council received a proposal from Margaret Moran’s parliamentary office for funding for festive lights for Bury Park, in response to a community request. As the Bury Park traders were not a formal organisation, Margaret Moran’s office arranged for eQN to receive the funding on their behalf. All the festival lights have now been installed and there is a complete audit trail of the invoices to show that the funding has been used correctly.”
In addition, equality Networks was given £20,000 by the East of England Development Agency’s (EEDA) Investing in Communities programme to produce a feasibility study for a new women’s business centre in Luton. The report thanks Miss Moran “for donating endless time and energy to support this study”.
It is claimed that she put forward equality Networks as a possible recipient of the funding in meetings with the development agency. It is now looking again at how the money was awarded. A spokesman said: “As far as we are aware the application, award of contract and delivery of the report followed correct processes including independent appraisal. The final report is available from BLEDP.”
Miss Moran was unavailable for comment.