Peterborough MP and former Cambridgeshire County Council member Fiona Onasanya jailed for three months for lying to police - she plans to appeal
PUBLISHED: 15:01 29 January 2019
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Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya, a former Cambridgeshire County Councillor and one time candidate for metro mayor, has been jailed for three months for lying to police after she was caught speeding.
The Peterborough MP 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 appeared at the Old Bailey to be sentenced alongside her brother Festus Onasanya, 34, who pleaded guilty to three similar charges, including the July incident.
Osasanya has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the political ranks, growing up in Cambridge and later studying law at the University of Hertfordshire.
She became the Labour county councillor for King’s Hedges in Cambridge in 2013 and was the party’s deputy group leader,
She applied, unsuccessfully, to become Labour’s candidate for the newly created Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority but a move to Peterborough gave her the opportunity to stand as the Parliamentary candidate.
She was already known to senior party officials and when the election was called in 2017 it was Labour’s national executive – and not the Peterborough party members – who choose her as the candidate to stand against sitting Tory MP Stewart Jackson.
She won by 607 votes.
A former colleague said her record was spotless” but suspicions about her brother Festus became well known.
“I remember on election night we were all in Cambridge celebrating and watching the results come through. Everyone in the room was thrilled at her success”.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith jailed the MP for three months and sentenced her brother to 10 months in prison.
The judge said: “It is not one law for those in a position of responsibility and power and another for those that do not.
“It’s a tragedy that you find yourselves here and in this predicament, but it is a tragedy that you have brought on yourselves.”
He told Miss Onasanya: “You have not simply let yourself down, you have let down those who look to you for inspiration, your party, your profession and Parliament.”
He told singer Mr Onasanya: “It takes some courage to face the music in cases such as this.”
The judge 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.
Her life as a new MP in 2017 was “extremely hectic and chaotic” and she had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when police began to pursue her.
After her brother falsely filled out her Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), she made the “disastrous decision” to keep up the lie from November 2017, he said.
The judge said jail could be expected for giving false information even in lesser cases because it “undermines the very system of criminal justice”.
Mitigating, Christine Agnew QC said: “Regardless of the sentence it will have a disastrous effect on every aspect of her life and career, a career she has worked very hard for.
“She has already been expelled from the Labour Party. At the moment she continues as an independent MP and the reason for that is it is her only income.
“It is highly likely as a result of today’s sentencing hearing that she will lose her seat as an MP.
“It’s not just a fall from grace. It’s a very public fall from grace. She will inevitably be struck off as a solicitor.
“Her life as a politician and as a solicitor has effectively come to an end.”