Recall Petition of Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya enters final week

The Recall Petition for Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya has entered its final week.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 10:26 am
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 10:28 am
Fiona Onasanya. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The petition, which will cost the Government approximately £500,000, was automatically triggered after the independent MP failed to overturn a conviction for perverting the course of justice after lying about who was driving her car when it was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017.

She was sentenced to three months in prison for the crime but only served four weeks before being released on licence.

That three month sentence comes to an end on Sunday.

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Fiona Onasanya. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Labour expelled her the day after her conviction.

The Recall Petition opened on Tuesday, March 19 and will last for six weeks, with constituents able to sign it at one of 10 signing places, or by posting in a postal signing form.

If 10 per cent (6,967 people) of Ms Onasanya’s constituents sign it then she will lose her seat and a by-election will be called.

The by-election would have to be held between 21 and 27 working days of it being triggered, meaning it would most likely take place two or three weeks after the anticipated European elections, and a month after city council elections.

The six week period for the petition to be open has been extended by two days as signing places were not open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

That means constituents have until 5pm on Wednesday, May 1, to register their signatures.

On the Wednesday the council will count that day’s signatures and reach a final total for the six week period.

It will then alert the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow before publishing the result, which could be on the Wednesday evening.

The media are legally not allowed to report on how good the turnout appears to be, or publish any statement that could indicate if an individual has signed the petition or not.

Only a few people know the running tally of signatures, and the petition remains open for the whole six weeks, even if the threshold to trigger the by-election is reached.

Ms Onasanya has continued to protest her innocence despite losing her appeal over her conviction. The day before the petition opened the MP released a video where, sitting in front of a backdrop of New York, she pleaded with constituents not to kick her out of office, adding: “I will continue to be your voice for change in Parliament for as long as you wish me to do so.”