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Convicted MP plans to stay in Parliament

Fiona Onasanya has said she will remain Peterborough MP despite facing a possible jail sentence for lying to police.

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya leaves the Old Bailey in London (Victoria Jones/PA)
Labour MP Fiona Onasanya leaves the Old Bailey in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

An MP convicted of perverting the course of justice has indicated she intends to stay in the House of Commons despite facing a possible jail sentence.

Fiona Onasanya was suspended by Labour after being found guilty at the Old Bailey earlier this month and the party said in a statement that she should quit as MP for Peterborough.

But writing in the Peterborough Telegraph, she said constituents should “rest assured” that she would remain their representative fighting injustice in the corridors of power.

Under parliamentary rules, Ms Onasanya would lose her seat in the Commons only if she is jailed for 12 months or more at her sentencing, expected next month.

You can rest assured that I will continue ... as your representative in the corridors of power Fiona Onasanya

In the article – headlined “I will continue to fight against injustices” – Ms Onasanya made no mention of her December 19 conviction for lying to police to avoid a speeding charge.

Instead, the 35-year-old solicitor provided a recap of her involvement in events at Westminster over the past year, including battles over Brexit, Universal Credit and austerity, as well as local controversies about working conditions at an Amazon warehouse and the planned closure of a tax office.

“It’s an honour to be your voice for change over an incredibly consequential period of British politics,” said Ms Onasanya.

And she pledged: “While it has been a successful year fighting back against these injustices, there is still much more to be done, and you can rest assured that I will continue to do so as your representative in the corridors of power.”

The paper’s editor, Mark Edwards, said he had been asked why the Telegraph was continuing to print Ms Onasanya’s regular column following her conviction.

“While she is still the MP – and therefore the elected representative – we believe it would be wrong to deny our readers the chance to read what she has submitted,” he said.

“To censor the column would, in my view, be wrong, and in my experience our readers are quite capable of making their own minds up about the columns submitted by local politicians.”

Shortly after her conviction, Ms Onasanya compared her position to that of Biblical figures Joseph, Moses and Daniel who “were each found guilty by the courts of their day”.

And in a WhatsApp message to Labour colleagues she added that Jesus “was accused and convicted by the courts of his day and yet this was not his end but rather the beginning of the next chapter in his story”.

If she does resign or lose her seat, Labour will face a tough fight to hold on to Peterborough, which it seized from the Tories by a wafer-thin margin of 607 in 2017.

PA

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