This is how Peterborough residents can remove Fiona Onasanya as MP under a recall petition

Fiona Onasanya in Peterborough following her conviction. Photo: Terry Harris
Fiona Onasanya in Peterborough following her conviction. Photo: Terry Harris
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Fiona Onasanya is due to be sentenced later this month for perverting the course of justice.

The MP for Peterborough was found unanimously guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey last month of lying about who was the driver of her Nissan Micra which was caught speeding in Thorney in July 2017.

Since then she has been expelled by the Labour Party and is currently sitting in the House of Commons as an independent MP having defied calls to quit.

Ms Onasanya will be sentenced alongside her brother Festus who pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice, including in relation to his sister’s case.

The date for their sentencing has yet to be decided the Old Bailey said on Friday.

If Ms Onasanya is sentenced to a year or more in prison (including if it is a suspended sentence) then she will lose her seat.

Any custodial or suspended sentence of less than a year which is not appealed would automatically trigger a recall petition under the Recall of MPs Act 2015.

This is how a recall petition would work:

. The petition officer (Peterborough City Council chief executive Gillian Beasley) is notified by the Speaker of the House of Commons that a petition has been called

. The petition must open no later than 10 working days after the notification and be run over a period of six weeks

. In this time a new register must be published and all electors notified by letter of their Signing Place (effectively a polling station) with a map

. Up to 10 Signing Places would be located around the city for registered electors to go and sign a petition slip (similar to a ballot paper) and place this in a ballot box at the station. Signing places would be open Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5pm (the opening times can be extended if the petition officer wishes)

. Anyone wishing to sign the petition by post could do so and could apply for a postal/proxy petition slip at any point during the six week period

. All ballot boxes would have to be verified daily.

The result of the recall petition is sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the council must await for a reply before publishing it.

It requires 10 per cent of the electorate in Ms Onasanya’s constituency to sign the recall petition for it to trigger a by-election.

Ms Onasanya would be eligible to stand if a by-election is called.

The good new for the council is the recall petition, if needed, would be completely funded by central government.

No MP has yet been recalled under the 2015 act, although Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley Jr narrowly avoided being recalled after he was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days in July for failing to declare two holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

The recall petition was signed by 9.4 per cent of voters in his North Antrim constituency.

How many signatures needed?

In the 2017 General Election which Ms Onasanya won to take the Peterborough seat, 47,738 votes were cast at a turnout of just over two-thirds.

That means in 2017 the electorate was around 70,000, indicating that apprximately 7,000 votes would be enough to recall Ms Onasanya.

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