By Richard Hartley-Parkinson
Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya has been jailed for three months for lying to police to avoid a speeding ticket. The Labour MP for Peterborough was found guilty of perverting the court of justice following a retrial in December. She is the first female MP ever to be jailed.
The Old Bailey heard evidence the MP was texting as well as speeding on the evening of Monday July 24 last year, during the summer recess. The 35-year-old solicitor was clocked going 41mph in a 30mph zone in the village of Thorney near Peterborough. The prosecution alleged she went on to collude with her brother Festus to avoid a speeding ticket. He has been jailed for 10 months. The court was told she was sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to fill out, but it was sent back naming the driver as Aleks Antipow, an acquaintance of Festus, who was away visiting his parents in Russia. A judge said: ‘If she wasn’t an MP or wasn’t in a position of responsibility, she would go inside. It’s not one law for those in a position of power, and another for those who are not.’ Festus, 34, from Cambridge, pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice over speeding, including for the July 24 incident. The siblings were sentenced at the Old Bailey by Mr Justice Stuart-Smith today. In the wake of the guilty verdict, Onasanya was expelled from the Labour Party and has launched an appeal against her conviction. Onasanya took the marginal seat from the Tories with a majority of just 607 at the 2017 election just 18 months ago. Parliamentary rules require the removal of an MP who is jailed for 12 months or more. But if the sentence is less than that a recall petition can force a by-election if it is signed by more than 10 per cent of the electorate in the Cambridgeshire seat.