Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya appeals conviction for perverting the course of justice

Fiona Onasanya has appealed her conviction for perverting the course of justice.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 9:36 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:34 pm
Fiona Onasanya in Peterborough following her conviction. Photo: Terry Harris

The MP for Peterborough lodged her appeal with the Court of Appeal “at the end of Christmas”, it has been revealed.

The court said the application was in the early stages of the appeals process but could not comment on the reason for her appeal.

Ms Onasanya’s legal team was contacted yesterday but has so far not responded.

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Fiona Onasanya in Peterborough following her conviction. Photo: Terry Harris

The Crown Prosecution Service said Ms Onasanya is due to be sentenced on Tuesday, January 29, although when the PT contacted the Old Bailey it said a date had not been set.

The MP’s appeal could affect her Parliamentary career.

If she is sentenced to a year or less in prison (including if it is a suspended sentence) it would trigger a recall petition - but this could not begin until the appeals process has ended.

If Ms Onasanya was sentenced to longer than a year in prison she would automatically lose her seat as an MP under the Representation of the People Act 1981.

The House of Commons confirmed this morning there is no provision in the act to delay that from taking place, including if she appeals.

Ms Onasanya had strenuously denied lying about who was behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra when it was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017 - but after a retrial lasting one week a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

The jury in the first trial was unable to return a verdict.

Ms Onasanya’s brother Festus is expected to be sentenced on the same day as her after pleading guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice, including in relation to his sister’s case.

Despite repeated requests for comment she has failed to answer any questions from the Peterborough Telegraph relating to her trial.

The Court of Appeal said a judge will decide whether to allow the appeal to be heard, but that the guidelines say that could take up to six months.

If a judge does allow the appeal to be heard the hearing may not take place until up to 10 months from the appeal being lodged.

That would allow Ms Onasanya to continue receiving her £77,379 a year salary.

Under 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.

Ms Onasanya is currently sitting as an independent MP as the Labour Party expelled her following her conviction last month.

She has failed to vote on a number of crucial votes since the Christmas recess ended, apart from on Tuesday where she voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill.

She has not answered questions from the PT asking for an explanation on why she has failed to vote.