Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya misses first Brexit votes after release from prison

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Fiona Onasanya failed to vote in the House of Commons yesterday in the first votes on Brexit since her release from prison.

The independent MP for Peterborough left HMP Bronzefield in Surrey on Tuesday morning after serving four weeks of a three month prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Fiona Onasanya arrives at her home in Peterborough after being released from prison.  Picture by Terry Harris. THA

Fiona Onasanya arrives at her home in Peterborough after being released from prison. Picture by Terry Harris. THA

There had been speculation that the MP would be the first ever to vote in the Commons with an electronic tag on, but not for the first time since her conviction she failed to vote.

Ms Onasanya has yet to comment publicly since her release from prison, despite repeated requests from the Peterborough Telegraph.

She is currently appealing against her conviction, but if the appeal fails it will automatically trigger a recall petition.

If 10 per cent of her constituents signed it within a six week period then she would lose her seat and a by-election would be called.

The Court of Appeal will begin hearing her appeal on Tuesday, March 5.

Ms Onasanya had been found unanimously guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey of lying about who was driving her Nissan Micra when it was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017, shortly after she had been elected.

On another evening of Brexit votes last night (Wednesday), members rejected Labour and SNP proposals which set out alternative Brexit plans and rejected a no deal.

But an overwhelming majority supported a proposal backed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper which stated that Theresa May must follow through with her promise to allow MPs to have a say on rejecting a no deal or delaying Brexit.

While they are not legally-binding, the votes present the chance for the House of Commons to exert its authority over the Brexit process.

They also act as a signal both to Downing Street and Brussels of what kind of Brexit MPs are likely to approve.

Perhaps the most significant of the amendments was the one tabled by the Labour frontbench which outlined its five demands for Brexit. Although the amendment was never expected to be passed in the House, it was considered to be an important turning point because Jeremy Corbyn had promised that he would support another referendum if it was rejected.

The votes took place ahead of another “meaningful vote” on Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement next month.

The full results - and how North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara voted

Labour frontbench amendment: Rejected, 323-240

Labour was calling for:

. A permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU

. Dynamic alignment on rights and protections

. Commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes

. “Unambiguous” agreements on the detail of future security arrangements

. Close alignment with the single market

Mr Vara voted against the amendment

SNP amendment: Rejected 324-288

The Scottish National Party tabled an amendment which demanded that the Prime Minister immediately rules out a no-deal Brexit “under any and all circumstances” and regardless of exit date.

Mr Vara voted against the amendment

Cooper-Letwin amendment: Passed 502-20

The amendment said that if the House voted for an extension of Article 50, the Government should ask for it to be approved by the EU and “bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension”.

Mr Vara abstained

Costa amendment: Accepted by the Government

The Tory backbencher’s amendment called for a separate agreement with the European Union to protect the rights of expats even if there is a no-deal Brexit.