The report stated that Margaret Moran had used her position as an MP to facilitate the access to Government Ministers for the company. Specifically, it was alleged that she has held parties at Westminster to which Ministers were invited.
It was also alleged that eNetworks is run by local Luton Labour party members.
Perhaps the most damaging allegation was that eNetworks submitted an application for a grant for the sum of £26,000 from Luton Council in 2007. Nothing wrong with that on the surface, but eNetworks ticked the box to say that they were a registered charity and gave a charity number. The Charity Commission told Look East that eNetworks is not a charity and that the number does not exist.
Margaret Moran, her partner Mick booker & eNetworks were invited to respond. Neither did.
Interestingly, eQuality ran a conference on 7 May 2009 on housing at which both Andy Burnham and local government minister Iain Wright spoke. Margaret Moran chaired it. Is it ethical for an MP to run a commercial conference company and use her undoubted influence to secure such top name speakers?
And how nice of one of Ms Moran's employees at eQuality to nominate her for a Women in Public Affairs Award. From the citation, you'd think she was a blameless heroine...
Margaret Moran MP for Luton South is an outstanding woman and one that Luton should be proud of.Her vision is that of a forward thinking, modern day suffragette and her attitude is one of a high performance athlete...Parliament would be a very dull place without her; I’m 100% positive about that.
UPDATE: The FT has yet more serious allegations against Ms Moran, relating to eQuality. She is accused of using her Commons staff to work for the company.
The FT has further discovered that Ms Moran used her Commons staff to work for Equality Networks (EQN), a non-profit group of which she is the non-remunerated chair. Michael Booker, her fiancé, is one of two company directors. The company, which states its profit “goes back into regeneration, jobs and skills to some of the most deprived communities in the UK”, offers services including research, training and “influencing”, defined as “legislative advice, relationship building and arranging meetings to parliamentary receptions or political briefings”.
EQN’s accounts show its funding comes from public grants, business sponsorship and private events organised for paying clients, principally in the housing sector.
Hundreds of documents seen by the Financial Times dated from 2006 to 2008 show that Ms Moran used her parliamentary staff to write funding bids for EQN, telling one that the salary the individual received was tied to working for EQN. Her constituency office also helped organise “great networking opportunities” at EQN conferences with ministers personally invited by Ms Moran.
When EQN bids for funding were unsuccessful, Ms Moran repeatedly used Commons-headed paper to intervene with local authorities and Whitehall departments to express her “concern and amazement”.
EQN received grants in 2008 from public bodies including £10,000 from Luton Borough Council for local regeneration funding, and £20,000 from the East of England Development Agency’s Investing in Communities programme for a “feasibility study” into a local women’s business centre.
A statement authorised by Ms Moran in response to the FT stated that “Margaret has never written any letters for EQN on parliamentary headed notepaper”.
However, the FT has seen copies of letters written by Ms Moran in 2007 on Commons-headed paper supporting EQN funding bids and personal invitations to EQN events sent to businesses on Commons headed paper.
If David Cameron can fire an MP for claiming £1,600 for a duck island, isn't it about time that Gordon Brown did the same thing to Margaret Moran?