Thursday, July 26, 2018

Labour MP for Peterborough to stand trial

The Labour MP for Peterborough, Fiona Onasanya, who took the seat from the Conservatives last year by just 607 votes, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with perverting the course of justice on July 12th and will now stand trial with her brother Festus. The case is scheduled  for the Old Bailey on 13th August.

They are accused of conspiring to evade speeding points - a similar charge to the one which ended the political career of former Lib/Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne.

Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were both sentenced to eight months in prison for perverting the course of justice after it emerged that Pryce had taken the speeding points after Huhne tripped a speed camera while driving too fast. They each served two months before being released on licence. Pryce's friend Constance Briscoe was subsequently sentenced to sixteen months in prison and sacked as a judge for making false statements to police in relation to the Huhne and Pryce case and submitting false documents to the trial.

If convicted and jailed Onasanya would be subject to the Recall act 2015 which means that if 10% of her constituents signed a petition to that effect she would be removed from her position and a by-election for the Peterborough constituency would follow.


Jim said...

What happens if she is convicted and 10% of her constituents don't sign a petition? Would that mean she is still the MP from prison? they could set up a pc in the HOC and use skype so she can "attend" in her arrow suit

Chris Whiteside said...

If an MP receives a prison sentence of over a year they automatically lose their seat.

Huhne resigned from parliament. I suspect that if she is found guilty and gets the same sort of sentence he did - eight months - that she would most likely do the same.

I would be absolutely astonished if she were sent to prison for more than a few days but less than a year, didn't resign and 10% of her constituents didn't then sign the petition. If that did happen, Peterborough would be unrepresented while she was in jail. There is as yet no procedure for representation in parliament by Skype (though we are starting to try that sort of thing at council committees and working groups. Parliament will get there eventually.)