Cambridgeshire

Fiona Onasanya: Recall petition opens in Peterborough

recall petition
Image caption A recall petition has opened in Peterborough to decide if Ms Onasanya will keep her seat

A recall petition has been opened in Peterborough to decide whether MP Fiona Onasanya will keep her seat.

The petition will be available for constituents to sign over the next six weeks, closing at 17:00 BST on 1 May.

Ms Onasanya, 35, was jailed for three months in January for perverting the course of justice after lying about a speeding offence.

She will face a by-election if 10% of her constituents - about 7,000 people - sign the petition.

The process began on 5 March when Peterborough City Council received a letter from the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, giving them 10 days to put the petition in place.

Image copyright Youtube
Image caption A petition that could force a by-election and unseat Fiona Onasanya as an MP has opened

It is available to sign in 10 different venues across the city - but only by eligible Peterborough constituents.

Ms Onasanya was dismissed from the Labour Party in December and remains an independent MP.

In a YouTube video posted on Monday, she protested her innocence and vowed to be a "voice of change in Parliament".

Image caption The recall petition will be open in Peterborough until 1 May

Gillian Beasley, chief executive of Peterborough City Council, described organising the petition as "a massive operation".

She said 13,000 postal signing papers had been issued, and 57,000 letters sent to constituents informing them of the process.

"It's something we've never done before; we've spent a lot of time putting together a project plan, we've sent out letters and set up signing places," she said.

Signatures will be counted at the end of the six-week period, and the total figure returned to the Speaker, who will then approve publication of the results.

It is the first time a recall petition has been held in England since the Recall of MPs Act - allowing voters to formally remove their MP - came into force in 2016.

Last September, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley survived a recall petition after he failed to declare two holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

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