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New petition could unseat disgraced Christian MP

Tue 19 Mar 2019
By Alex Williams

Voters in the constituency of a disgraced Christian MP have the opportunity to sign a petition which could unseat her within months.

The recall petition could force Fiona Onasanya out of her Peterborough constituency and pave the way for a by-election, if ten per cent sign it.

The 35-year-old served 28 days of a three-month sentence for perverting the course of justice after she was convicted for lying about a speeding offence.

 

Ms Onasanya, who posted a video on Monday in which she insisted upon her innocence, has continued to receive her £77,000 salary.

If a by-election is called, rules allow her to stand for re-election. Constituents have six weeks to sign the petition, which closes at 5pm on 1st May.

Ms Onasanya was elected for Labour in Peterborough in 2017. She was expelled from the party following her conviction.

 

She has been the second MP to face a recall petition since the procedure was introduced in 2015. It gives voters a way of removing MPs in between elections.

Ian Paisley Jr, also a Christian, avoided a by-election when a recall petition was launched in his constituency last year.

The North Antrim MP was temporarily suspended from Parliament for failing to declare a holiday which was funded by the government of Sri Lanka.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

 

Ms Onasanya was not automatically removed as an MP because her sentence was less than twelve months. She has resisted calls to resign.

Recall petitions are used when an MP receives a custodial sentence (including suspended sentences), is banned from the House of Commons for ten sitting days or is found guilty of providing false information about their expenses.

 

According to a YouGov survey conducted in January, 81 per cent of 4,000 people polled believed Ms Onasanya should quit.

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