15:37, January 31 158 0 theguardian.com

2019-01-31 15:37:06
Judge to review Fiona Onasanya sentence after leniency objection

Fiona Onasanya, the MP jailed for repeatedly lying about a speeding ticket, is to have her three-month prison sentence reviewed after a complaint that it is unduly lenient. The sentence follows her conviction in December for perverting the course of justice.

The attorney general’s office will re-examine the decision by a judge at the Old Bailey.

Onasanya, the MP for Peterborough and a former Labour whip, has faced widespread condemnation for continuing as an MP. Both her former party and the Conservatives have called for her to stand down.



A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said: “We have received a request for the case of Fiona Onasanya to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. The law officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case.”

On Tuesday, the judge, Jeremy Stuart-Smith, told the court the sentence was the “shortest I feel able to impose”.

“I make plain I will not treat you more severely because of your position as an MP and former solicitor. There cannot be one law for those in positions of power, privilege and responsibility and another for those who are not,” he said.

If the attorney general’s office finds the sentence to be unduly lenient, the case will be referred to the court of appeal which will decide whether or not to increase it.

Parliamentary rules require the removal of an MP who is jailed for 12 months or more.

A lesser sentence can result in a recall petition, which can force a byelection if it is signed by more than 10% of the electorate in the constituency.

Onasanya, 35, who now sits as an independent, is appealing against her conviction. A recall process cannot begin until her appeal has been heard, which could take several months. She is the first sitting MP to be jailed for 28 years.

The court was told she was not resigning because her MP salary of £77,000 is her only source of income.

Onasanya colluded with her brother, Festus Onasanya, to avoid a speeding ticket after her car was captured by a speed camera travelling at 41mph in a 30mph zone near Peterborough in July 2017, the court was told.

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