Cambridgeshire

Fiona Onasanya: Jeremy Corbyn says Peterborough MP should quit

Fiona Onasanya Image copyright PA
Image caption Fiona Onasanya lied about a speeding ticket issued a week after she was elected as MP

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the behaviour of a Labour MP who lied to police about a speeding offence.

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, 35, was convicted on Wednesday of perverting the course of justice.

"I am sad at what's happened to her in her career, but obviously utterly deplore the action she took," he said.

Onasanya had denied she was behind the wheel after her car was caught doing 41mph in a 30mph zone in Cambridgeshire in July 2017.

Onasanya has been "administratively suspended" from Labour, and party leader Mr Corbyn said she could not remain as an MP after her conviction.

Speaking during a visit to Northampton, he said: "Obviously, she is not going to remain as the member of parliament because she been found guilty in a court of law."

The Labour Party has called on Onasanya to resign, as her behaviour "falls well below what is expected of politicians".

'Biblical company'

In a WhatsApp group for Labour MPs, she compared her situation to that of Jesus Christ after his conviction.

As first reported in The Times, Onasanya wrote she was "in biblical company along with Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, who were each found guilty by the courts of their day".

She went on to say "their greatest days of impact were on the other side of a guilty verdict" and added "of course this is equally true of Christ... and yet this was not his end but rather the beginning of the next chapter in his story".

The MP will be sentenced, along with her brother Festus, on a date yet to be set.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire political reporter Hannah Olsson

The verdict does not necessarily mean there will be a by-election, but if she is sentenced to more than a year imprisonment, even if it is suspended, it will automatically trigger a by-election.

If it is less than a year that would trigger a recall petition which means if 10% of all her constituents sign a petition there would have to be a by-election.

If that did not happen, in theory she could continue sitting as an independent MP, but that seems unlikely.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Festus Onasanya pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice

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