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UK News

Christian MP Fiona Onasanya pleads her innocence in online video

by Press Association

Now independent MP Fiona Onasanya has begged voters to let her continue as their representative in Parliament in a video. 

In the piece to camera, recorded in front of an image of the New York skyline and posted on her social media pages the day before the start of a six-week recall petition, she claims she is innocent of perverting the course of justice.

The Peterborough MP was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey and was sentenced to three months in prison.

The 35-year-old, who was elected as a Labour MP, served 28 days of her sentence for lying about who was driving her car when it was caught speeding in July 2017.

She was released on 26th February and voted in the Brexit vote on May's withdrawal deal last week. 

In the video, posted on Monday, she says: "I am telling you I am innocent and will continue to pursue avenues to clear my name.

"If you wish for me to continue as your independent Member of Parliament I am willing and able to do so but the choice is now in your hands.

"I would like to say I have a deep gratitude to all who have offered prayers, support and love during this difficult period of time over the past few months and also say to you all, thank you.

"I will continue to be your voice of change in Parliament for as long as you wish me to do so and if you do wish me to do so I can tell you I will continue to lobby Government, I will continue to fight for social justice with all of the veracity and power that I have been so far, and continue to be your voice, because you deserve nothing less."

Jurors at the Old Bailey were told that she colluded with her brother Festus after her car was clocked speeding at 41mph in a 30mph zone in the village of Thorney, near Peterborough, in July 2017.

She was sent a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) to fill out, but it was sent back naming the guilty driver as Aleks Antipow, an acquaintance of her brother, who was away visiting his parents in Russia.

Festus Onasanya, 34, from Cambridge, was jailed for 10 months after he admitted three counts of perverting the course of justice over speeding, including the July 24 incident.

Sentencing them at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said: "It's a tragedy that you find yourselves here and in this predicament but it is a tragedy that you have brought on yourselves."

Ms Onasanya claims in the video, posted on Monday, that her defence "was never put across in the media".

Giving evidence at her trial, Ms Onasanya said that when she received the notice of intended prosecution (NIP) she left it at her mother's house for whoever had borrowed her car to complete, assuming she had been in London.

She said that while being pursued over the NIP she suffered a relapse of multiple sclerosis and was admitted to hospital for three days, and said that when she asked her brother about the ticket he told her it was all "sorted".

Ms Onasanya appealed against her conviction, but this was thrown out at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Rejecting her challenge, Sir Brian Leveson said: "It is a tragedy that she has damaged, probably irreparably, a promising political career but there is absolutely no basis for challenging her conviction."

A recall petition will be opened on Tuesday and voters will have six weeks to sign before it closes at 5pm on May 1.

If it attracts the signatures of 10% of eligible voters, about 7,000 people, Ms Onasanya will be forced out and a by-election called.

Under recall rules, Ms Onasanya will be permitted to stand for re-election She won her 2017 seat by 607 votes. 

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