Posted on July 26, 2018

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya Tried to Avoid Points for Speeding

Tim Sculthorpe, Daily Mail, July 25, 2018

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya has been charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice after allegedly lying to police about who was behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle.

The Peterborough MP, who won the key marginal seat in 2017, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on July 12.

The 34-year-old was charged over allegedly lying about who was behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle in two separate incidents in Cambridgeshire last year.

Prosecutors say Ms Onasanya conspired with her younger brother Festus to avoid penalty points, once when she was driving and once when he was behind the wheel, and passed them to a third party.

She is alleged to have been behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle on July 24 last year but together with her brother Festus Onasanya told the authorities someone else was driving.

The second similar count relates to an incident on August 23 when her brother was alleged to have been driving but she told authorities that a third party had been driving.

Festus, 33, a singer from Cambridge, also faces a third charge of perverting the course of justice.

The third charge faced by Festus alone relates to a similar offence, where he allegedly blamed a third party for a speeding offence on June 17 last year, according to the Guardian.

Court records show the CPS say that ‘together with Festus Onasanya’ she ‘falsely informed the investigating authorities that Aleks Antipow had been the driver of the said vehicle…to avoid such prosecution and punishment.’

Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed to MailOnline the alleged offence took place in its in area.

Ms Onasanya, an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is due to appear at the Old Bailey on August 13 for a plea hearing.

The offence of perverting the course of justice carries a maximum penalty of life in jail.

The case echoes that of ex-Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne.

Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were both jailed for eight months each in 2013 for perverting the course of justice after she took speeding points for the former Liberal Democrat MP.

But they both only served two months of their sentences.

Ms Onasanya is a member of Mr Corbyn’s frontbench team, serving as a Labour whip, meaning she is responsible for party discipline.

She won the Peterborough seat — one of Labour’s most marginal seats — with a majority of just 607 votes, ousting Tory Stewart Jackson in the election last year.

The former Conservative MP went on to be chief of staff to David Davis while he was Brexit Secretary but left Whitehall following his boss’s shock resignation.

The Peterborough seat is in England’s Brexit heartlands and was a crucial swing seat at the June 2017 poll, symbolising the Labour surge that destroyed Theresa May’s majority.

If Ms Onasanya is convicted and serves a jail term, a special vote could be triggered to remove her under the Recall Act 2015 if it is signed by 10 per cent of voters in their constituency.

That could open the door to a by-election in one of the most pro-Brexit areas of the country.

Ms Onasanya was a commercial property solicitor before she joined the Labour Party after the London riots.

She used her maiden speech in Parliament to declare: ‘I am motivated in all that I do by my abiding faith in God.’

And asked if she aspired to become Britain’s first black Prime Minister, she replied: ‘I absolutely wish to aim high.

‘The sky is not the limit as there are footsteps on the moon!’

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said: ‘Fiona Oluyinka Onasanya, 34, from Peterborough has been charged with one count of perverting the course of justice.

‘She appeared at Westminster Magistrate’s Court on 12 July and is due to appear in court again on 13 August.’

A Labour spokeswoman said: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment on an ongoing case.’

Ms Onasanya’s office declined to comment today when contacted by MailOnline.