British MP, Fiona Onasanya jailed 3 months for lying over speed fine
London, Jan. 30, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A British MP, has recorded an unwanted record of becoming the first sitting MP to be sent to jail in over three decades
Fiona Onasanya, a former Labour whip, was on Tuesday sentenced at the Old Bailey to three months in prison after being convicted for lying to police officers to avoid a speeding fine.
The Peterborough MP, who was caught speeding less than two months after being elected in 2017, has been urged to resign by the Labour Party but has indicated that she will continue serving from prison.
Her brother Festus, 34, was also convicted for conspiring with her to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Justice Stuart-Smith said Miss Onasanya’s case was out of the ordinary because the crime was “totally out of character” and possibly committed out of misplaced loyalty to her brother.
The court heard evidence that the MP was on her mobile phone as well as driving at 41mph in a 30mph zone on the evening in question.
She then claimed that the driver was a former tenant of her brother, who was visiting his parents in Russia at the time.
Ms Onasanya seized the marginal seat from the Tories in the 2017 election with a majority of just 607.
A Labour spokesperson said that Ms Onasanya should have “done the decent thing” and resigned as soon as she was found guilty weeks ago.
“However the sentence gives Fiona one last opportunity to act honourably and resign from parliament. She should do this without delay and not take another penny in salary from the public purse,” the spokesperson said.
“If Fiona does not resign, Labour will support local residents in their efforts to trigger a by-election through a recall petition.”
Labour has already started the process of selecting a candidate for a potential by-election.
Under a law introduced four years ago, any prison term for a MP leads to a “recall petition” which can force a by-election if signed by more than a tenth of local voters.
But that is not likely to happen immediately because Ms Onasanya has appealed against her conviction.
The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, will only be able to trigger a recall petition – a ballot of her constituents – once her appeal process has ended and if her conviction is upheld
Otherwise, Ms Onasanya will continue to earn a weekly salary of £1,480 and receive pension contributions amounting to £9,000 annually whilst incarcerated.
Her lawyer, Christine Agnew QC, told the court that Ms Onasanya had chosen not to resign because her £78,000 salary was “her only source of income”. Additional Agency report