NEWS
19/03/2019 11:41 GMT | Updated 19/03/2019 11:42 GMT

Petition Launched To Oust Disgraced Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya

If 10% of her constituency back the bid, a by-election will be triggered.

A petition to oust disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya has been launched in her constituency a day after she posted a plea on Facebook asking for voters to keep her in office.

The Peterborough politician was convicted for lying about a speeding office and sentenced to three months in jail in December.

She served one month of her sentence and the Old Bailey rejected a challenge against her conviction.

Onasanya intends to remain an independent MP after being expelled from the Labour Party.

But if 10% of the voting population of her constituency – roughly 7,000 people – sign the recall petition, an automatic by-election will be triggered, in which Onasanya has said she would stand.

It will run for a period of six weeks, during which time the amount of signatures will be kept secret. 

Commons Speaker John Bercow will announce the result on May 1.

On Monday, Onasanya used a Facebook video to appeal to the public, in which she protested her innocence and told constituents she hopes to “continue to be your voice, because you deserve nothing less”. 

She went on to say: “The media has shown you one side. I am telling you, I am innocent and will continue to pursue avenues to clear my name.”

The 35-year-old was elected for Labour in the Cambridgeshire city in 2017, by just 607 votes. 

She is the second MP to be subject to a recall petition, which gives voters a means of ousting poorly behaved MPs in between elections, since new rules were introduced in 2015.

The petition was automatically triggered after she was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jr narrowly avoided recall last year when 9.4% of eligible constituents signed a petition demanding his removal.

He had been suspended from Parliament for failing to declare a holiday paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

Onasanya was not subject to automatic removal as an MP as her sentence was less than 12 months, and has since resisted calls to resign her role.

The petition process will cost around £500,000, funded by central government.