Christian MP Onasanya appeals conviction and remains in House of Commons

Thu 17 Jan 2019
By Cara Bentley

The Labour MP Fiona Onasanya, who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, is appealing against her conviction.

Last week, it was revealed that Onasanya, the MP for Peterborough, was removed from the Labour Party because she lied to police to avoid a speeding charge.

Onasanya was found guilty of driving behind the wheel of a Nissan Micra in July 2017 - doing 41mph in a 30mph in Thorney in Cambridgeshire. 

She faces a potential prison sentence and had already been asked to stand down before the party suspended her. But her appeal means any attempts to get rid of her will have to be paused until the legal process is complete.

If she is sentenced for a year or more, she will automatically lose her seat and if the sentence is less than a year then she could face a recall petition - where her constituency could recall her from parliament and trigger a by-election if 10 per cent electorate sign the petition.

A by-election could be a close and unwelcome match for Labour as she only won the seat in 2017 by 607 votes against the Conservatives with the area voting 60.9% Leave in the EU referendum. 

The recall petition rules state however: "In the case of a conviction, the recall petition will not be opened unless the appeal period expires without the conviction, sentence or order having been overturned or all appeals have been heard and dismissed."

On Tuesday, she voted in the Brexit vote as an Independent MP (she voted against the deal) and she will continue as such, with her MP's salary and job stable in the meantime.

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