Margaret Moran: A morality tale of greed, 37,000 stamps, and a charming home in Spain

Our diarist on the extravagant claims of a Labour MP, the Miliband's habits being repeated through the generations, and the ancestors of a likeable Lord

Share
Related Topics

Even before the MPs’ expenses scandal blew up, some people were wondering how the then Labour MP Margaret Moran – who turned out to be the biggest fiddler of them all – managed to stack up such enormous claims. Five years ago, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Luton council, David Franks, wondered how anyone could spend £11,820 in one year on postage stamps – enough to send nearly 37,000 letters out first class – not to mention £22,109 on housing costs, when the permitted ceiling was £22,110. He wondered whether any of this money was going into the home Moran was known to have in Spain.

A spokesman curtly replied that this suggestion was “ridiculous”, though in the light of the evidence presented in court it does not seem ridiculous any more.

There was another story which sounded ridiculous but turned out to be true. It was that Moran was using parliamentary notepaper to pin notices in Spanish and English to trees and gateposts telling people not to park on a road behind her Spanish home. She denied it, but one resident kept a copy, which was published in The Daily Telegraph. Moran is now a broken woman, but it was her greed that brought her down.

Forget Ed and David, now it’s Sam and Dan 

There was an alarming revelation in the 37th paragraph of a long account in yesterday’s Daily Mirror of a day out on the campaign trail with Ed Miliband, by the paper’s deputy political editor, James Lyons. Mentioning that the Labour leader is finding time to be with his two sons, Daniel, three, and Samuel, two, it revealed: “Samuel has started to push his older brother around.”

Younger brother shoving older brother around?

Reed doesn’t bother waiting for result

Candidates in parliamentary elections are not supposed to take the result for granted. In Corby, the Labour party machine has been scrupulous – boring, even – in their insistence that they are not confident that they have won. But I note that two Labour councillors in Lambeth have put their names forward for the election of a new council leader which takes place on Monday. The incumbent leader, Steve Reed has resigned with effect from 29 November. That is the day of the by-election in Croydon North, triggered by the death of the Labour MP Malcolm Wicks. Councillor Reed is the Labour candidate.

The colourful ancestors of a likeable Lord

Robert, the 13th Earl Ferrers, whose death aged 83 was reported yesterday, held the rare distinction of having served in the governments of five prime ministers, starting with Harold Macmillan in 1962 and ending with John Major, 35 years later. He was also a beneficiary of the strange practices of the House of Lords. Henry Shirley, the third holder of the Shirley family’s hereditary seat, was mad. On his death in 1745, the title passed to his nephew, Laurence Shirley, whose behaviour was so appalling that his wife managed the rare feat of obtaining a divorce on grounds of cruelty.

In 1760, he was hanged for murdering his steward. Naturally, he remained the 4th Earl Ferrers until the moment that he ascended the scaffold, but once he was through the trap door, his brother, Laurence, took over the title and all that went with it. Even when most of the other hereditaries were booted out of the House of Lords, the 13th Earl retained the family seat because everyone liked him so much.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup