MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya has hinted she may not quit as an MP in a WhatsApp message to Labour MPs, reportedly saying she is in “good Biblical company”.
Ms Onasanya was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by a jury at the Old Bailey yesterday for colluding with her brother Festus to lie about who was the driver of her Nissan Micra which was clocked doing 41mph in a 30mph zone in Thorney.
Following the guilty verdict she was immediately suspended by the Labour Party and had the whip removed, but so far she has not spoken publicly about the verdict or what she intends to do next.
The Times has this lunchtime published an article stating Ms Onasanya has sent a message to Labour MPs on WhatsApp, which it has got hold of.
Hinting that she may not quit as an MP, she reportedly states that: “Regardless of what you believe or suspect, the fact remains that I Fiona sought to be the choice and voice of change — but this may now take a different path.”
She then reportedly states: “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.”
Ms Onasanya is due to be sentenced in January.
If she is sentenced to a year or more prison she will automatically lose her seat, triggering a by-election, but a shorter prison sentence (including a suspended sentence) would open up a recall petition.
If 10 per cent of her constituents signed the petition she would then lose her seat, although she would be able to stand in a by-election.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has denounced Ms Onasanya during a visit to Northampton.
According to the BBC he said: “I am sad at what’s happened to her in her career, but obviously utterly deplore the action she took.
“Obviously she is not going to remain as the Member of Parliament because she been found guilty in a court of law.”