Fiona Onasanya: Former Labour MP loses appeal against perverting course of justice

Labour says party will now encourage residents’ efforts to force by-election in Peterborough

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 05 March 2019 13:16
Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya leaves in taxi after losing appeal

A former Labour MP has lost a challenge against her conviction for perverting the course of justice.

Fiona Onasanya was disowned from the Labour Party after being found guilty in December of lying to police over a speeding ticket, and was later sentenced to three months in jail.

Released last week after serving one month, Onasanya continues to serve as an MP despite calls for her to resign from both major political parties.

Now that her appeal has been quashed, however, her Peterborough constituents can trigger a “recall petition” and if they obtain signatures from 10 per cent of the electorate a by-election will be forced in the marginal seat.

Representing herself at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Onasanya, 35, told the court: “The charge against me was perverting the course of justice.

“I said from the outset, and I still maintain my innocence, that I did not do that.”

Outside the court, Onasanya refused to elaborate further, saying: “I’m not going to comment at the moment.”

Rejecting Onasanya’s appeal bid, Sir Brian Leveson said: “In conclusion, this applicant was tried fairly by a jury, who rejected her evidence on oath.

“There was no error of law in the approach of the judge, whose directions ... Were clear and accurate, nor was there any other irregularity with the trial.

“It is a tragedy that she has damaged, probably irreparably, a promising political career, but there is absolutely no basis for challenging her conviction.”

Responding to the judgment, a Labour Party spokesperson said Onasanya must “now do the decent thing and go”, adding: “If she refuses to stand down, Labour will actively support local residents in their efforts to trigger a by-election through a recall petition.”

“Labour has consistently called on Fiona Onasanya to stand down as an MP ever since she was found guilty last December,” they said.

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