Peterborough Labour will campaign to remove Fiona Onasanya - group leader '˜excited at beginning new chapter'
The Labour Party in Peterborough will campaign to remove Fiona Onasanya as city MP if she does not quit.
Cllr Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council, said he wanted Ms Onasanya to do the “only honourable thing” and stand down after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey last month.
Ms Onasanya was found to have been lying about who was the driver of her Nissan Micra which was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017.
She is due to be sentenced later this month alongside her brother Festus who pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice, including in relation to his sister’s case.
The date for their sentencing has yet to be decided.
The Peterborough Labour Party was joined by party chair Ian Lavery for an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss what happens next in the constituency.
Mr Lavery confirmed Ms Onasanya had been expelled by the party the day after she was found guilty, meaning she is currently sitting as an independent MP.
He added that the party wanted her to quit so voters could elect another Labour MP.
Ms Onasanya has hinted in the past fortnight that she wants to continue as MP for Peterborough, but she has yet to reference her trial in public.
The Peterborough Labour Party has previously not commented on Ms Onasanya’s conviction, but in a statement today Cllr Nawaz echoed calls from politicians of other political parties in calling for her to quit Westminster.
He said: “Fiona Onasanya has let the voters of Peterborough down. The only honourable thing left to her is to resign as an MP. People in Peterborough would respect her for doing that.
“As the Labour group leader on Peterborough City Council I am deeply saddened by the recent events. However, I am also pleased that immediately after she was convicted the Labour Party expelled Fiona and called on her to resign. This is the swift and decisive action necessary.
“If Fiona fails to resign then we in the Peterborough Labour Party will be campaigning to initiate the recall process and trigger a by-election.
“We will do this because the voters of Peterborough elected a Labour MP, and they deserve one.
“Whenever we get the chance to elect a new MP for Peterborough the public will face a stark choice. We have the Tories who have cut police numbers while crime is rising, or Labour who will put more bobbies on the beat and cut crime.
“The Conservatives who are destroying our NHS, or Labour who will provide the doctors and nurses we desperately need.
“And voters will have the choice between a Labour Party who will invest to create high skilled well paid jobs, or the Tory policies that have left too many people here in Peterborough striving but barely surviving.
“I am proud of the Labour Party’s decisive action in this sad affair. But more than that, I am excited at the beginning of a new chapter in Peterborough, and the chance to elect the new Labour MP Peterborough deserves.”
If Ms Onasanya is sentenced to a year or more in prison (including if it is a suspended sentence) then she will lose her seat.
Any custodial or suspended sentence of less than a year which is not appealed would automatically trigger a recall petition.
If 10 per cent of her constituents signed it within six weeks, Ms Onasanya would lose her seat and a by-election would be triggered, which she could stand in.
The process for selecting the Labour candidate if there is a by-election has yet to be decided.