The Labour party has urged Fiona Onasanya to resign after the MP for Peterborough in eastern England was sentenced to three months in prison for lying to police after she was caught speeding.
The Peterborough MP — who has been expelled by Labour and is now an independent — was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by claiming someone else was driving her car on July 24, 2017.
The 35-year old solicitor was sentenced at the Old Bailey alongside her brother Festus, who pleaded guilty to three similar charges and was sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Justice Stuart-Smith said Miss Onasanya’s case was out of the ordinary because the crime was “totally out of character” and possibly committed out of misplaced loyalty to her brother.
The court heard evidence that the MP was on her mobile phone as well as driving at 41mph in a 30mph zone on the evening in question.
She then claimed that the driver was a former tenant of her brother, who was visiting his parents in Russia at the time.
Ms Onasanya seized the marginal seat from the Tories in the 2017 election with a majority of just 607.
A Labour spokesperson said that Ms Onasanya should have “done the decent thing” and resigned as soon as she was found guilty weeks ago.
“However today’s sentence gives Fiona one last opportunity to act honourably and resign from parliament. She should do this without delay and not take another penny in salary from the public purse,” the spokesperson said.
“If Fiona does not resign, Labour will support local residents in their efforts to trigger a by-election through a recall petition.”
Labour has already started the process of selecting a candidate for a potential by-election.
Under a law introduced four years ago, any prison term for a MP leads to a “recall petition” which can force a by-election if signed by more than a tenth of local voters.
But that is not likely to happen immediately because Ms Onasanya has appealed against her conviction.
A Conservative spokesman said the MP had let Peterborough down and could not possibly represent her constituents from prison.
“She should do the decent thing and immediately step down,” he said. “If she doesn’t, we will campaign to use a recall petition to ensure that the residents of Peterborough can have their say in a by-election for a new MP.”
“Labour are ignoring the democratic vote of Peterborough and are doing all they can to frustrate Brexit for political purposes. The people of Peterborough deserve a Conservative MP who will respect their views.”
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