Labour MP urged to resign after guilty verdict
Fiona Onasanya suspended after jury rules she colluded with brother to blame former lodger for driving offence
A Labour MP has been suspended from the party and urged to resign from parliament after being found guilty of repeatedly lying to avoid a speeding ticket.
Fiona Onasanya was found guilty of perverting the course of justice following a retrial. She had been accused of colluding with her brother to avoid having three points added to her licence for speeding – and then doubling down in a series of lies that became increasingly hard to defend.
The MP for Peterborough had claimed a former lodger had been driving her car, even though police established the lodger was in Russia at the time.
Prosecutor David Jeremy QC told the jury she went on to lie “persistently and deliberately” to avoid prosecution.
Days before the first trial began, the MP’s brother Festus admitted three charges of perverting the course of justice. The pair could now face custodial sentences.
The Guardian says the career of Onasanaya “lies in ruins after the verdict”.
A Labour spokesman said that the party was “deeply disappointed” in her behaviour and said that she has been suspended from the party and should resign as an MP. She might also be struck off as a solicitor.
The verdict could also have political ramifications, as it raises the possibility of a by-election in Peterborough, a seat Onasanya won by 607 votes at the general election.
Sky News says “if she doesn't receive a custodial sentence of more than a year she can sit as an independent if she chooses to resign from the Labour party. There is automatic disqualification if a member receives a custodial sentence of more than one year.”
While the Tories will look to capitalise on Onasanya’s downfall, “Peterborough’s 60.9% vote to quit the EU sparked rumours that Farage could stand for parliament for an eighth time, hoping to finally be elected an MP by potentially campaigning on a Brexit betrayal narrative,” says HuffPost UK.
The former UKIP leader has said he will not be standing, “but whatever happens, Brexit is likely to dominate any campaign with parliament in chaos over the EU withdrawal process”, says the news site.