Esther's opponent stands down

Charlotte Newton THE Labour MP for Luton South has announced that she will step down at the next election - just two days after Esther Ranzen confirmed that she would stand against her. Margaret Moran found herself at the centre of the expenses scandal a

Charlotte Newton

THE Labour MP for Luton South has announced that she will step down at the next election - just two days after Esther Ranzen confirmed that she would stand against her.

Margaret Moran found herself at the centre of the expenses scandal after it emerged that she claimed �22,500 to treat dry rot at her husband's Southampton house.

She had made the property her second home just days before submitting the claim, even though it was 100 miles from her constituency and even farther from the House of Commons.


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Ms Rantzen told the Ham&High that she was appalled Ms Moran had the audacity to make such a claim. On Tuesday she confirmed that she would stand against her at the next election.

But the pressure and attention seems to have affected the Labour MP. In a statement today she Ms Moran said: "The understandable anger in the media and amongst the public over the issue of my Parliamentary expenses has had a bruising effect upon my friends, my family and my health."

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Ms Rantzen, who lives in Hampstead, told the Ham&High that she may still stand as an MP in Luton South and will visit the constituency on Sunday.

"I'm going up to Luton and I'm going to meet as many people as possible before I make up my mind," she said.

"A survey showed that local people were 60-40 in favour of me standing for election, but that was before Margaret Moran announced that she was standing down. Things may have changed now," Ms Rantzen added.

Although Ms Moran has repaid the �22,500 a Labour disciplinary panel had been due to decide whether the Luton South MP could stand for the party again.

Julie Kirkbride, the Tory MP for Bromsgrove also announced today that she would step down at the next election. She has been strongly criticised for re-mortgaging her second home by �50,000 to fund an extension.

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