Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya makes first Commons speech since prison sentence as she highlights cuts to council budget

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya has made her first speech in the House of Commons since her release from prison in February.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 10:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 10:33 pm
Fiona Onasanya in the House of Commons on a previous occasion

The independent MP chose to make a two-minute spoken contribution in a debate on local government and social care funding having previously taken part in votes in the Commons following her return.

Ms Onasanya was sentenced to three months in jail in January after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The 35-year-old, who was elected as a Labour MP before being expelled by the party the day after her conviction, served just 28 days for lying about who was driving her car when it was caught speeding in July 2017.

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Ms Onasanya called for better investment in local councils, saying austerity had severely limited their ability to provide proper services.

She said: "We were told last year by both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor that austerity is over. I beg to differ because austerity is alive and well in Peterborough.

"Our revenue support grant is just £10 million this year - a cut of over 80 per cent.

"Since 2010 this Government has cut £20 million of funding from my local council which has meant a £431 loss per year for each household in the same period.

"That is money that is being taken straight from the pockets of my constituents."

Ms Onasanya said the Government needed to accept responsibility, saying cuts to local councils limited their ability to provide services.

She said: "When will the Government wake up to the fact that these cuts to our local council and social care budgets have seriously harmed their ability to function?

"Our councils are so starved of funding they can only just about fulfil their statutory obligations."

Ms Onasanya called for better investment in schools and social services.

She added: "Warm words that austerity is over will not cut it."