Voters to decide fate of Christian MP jailed after speeding offence

TwitterFiona Onasanya was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

A petition has been opened to decide the future of disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya, who served 28 days of a three-month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Voters in her Peterborough constituency have until 5pm on May 1 to decide whether the 35-year-old Christian should be allowed to keep her seat. 

According to the Evening Standard, the MP has continued to receive her £77,379 salary despite her conviction last December after being accused of lying about a speeding offence.

She is sitting as an independent after being expelled from the Labour Party following her conviction.

She did not automatically lose her seat because her sentence was less than 12 months, but under the terms of the recall petition, Ms Onasanya will be forced to step down if 10 per cent of eligible voters - around 7,000 people - sign the petition in favour of her removal. 

If she loses her seat, a by-election will be triggered, although Ms Onasanya will be allowed to stand for re-election. 

Despite Ms Onasanya maintaining her innocence, the courts concluded that she had colluded with her brother Festus to avoid penalty points after her car was found doing 41 mph in a 30 mph zone in July 2017. Festus received a 10-month prison sentence after admitting perverting the course of justice.

In a WhatsApp message to other Labour MPs after her conviction she compared herself to people in the Bible, including Jesus, who had been wrongly accused.

She said: "In times like these the natural inclination of believers is to ask God why? I personally do not, because in my experience the answers are usually far above and beyond my reach. What I do know is that I am in good biblical company along with Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three Hebrew friends who were each found guilty by the courts of their day.

"While God did not save them from a guilty verdict he did save them in it and ensured that their greatest days of impact were on the other side of a guilty verdict. Of course this is equally true of Christ who 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."

In a social media post the day before the petition opened, she continued to plead her innocence, saying she had "not been able to share my side" in response to the extensive media coverage of her case.

She said in the video: "From the outset, I have maintained my innocence.  I have not perverted the course of justice. I have not colluded with my brother. My defence was never put across in the media." 

She continued: "But what would you do if you knew you were innocent?  Would you sit back and accept it? Would you accept the verdict knowing in your heart of hearts that you are innocent? Or would you fight to clear your name?

"I am telling you I am innocent and will continue to pursue avenues to clear my name."

Lifestyle