Claudia Webbe

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Claudia Webbe
Official portrait of Claudia Webbe MP crop 2.jpg
Webbe in 2019
Member of Parliament
for Leicester East
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byKeith Vaz
Majority6,019 (12.2%)
Islington London Borough Councillor
for Bunhill
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 May 2021
Preceded byDonna Boffa
Personal details
Born
Claudia Naomi Webbe

(1965-03-08) 8 March 1965 (age 56)
Leicester, England
Political partyIndependent
Other political
affiliations
Socialist Campaign Group (2019–present)
Labour (until 3 November 2021)
ResidenceLondon, England
Alma mater
WebsiteOfficial website

Claudia Naomi Webbe (born 8 March 1965)[1] is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament for Leicester East since 2019. Born in Leicester, she was a councillor in the London Borough of Islington from 2010 until her resignation in March 2021, having served as its cabinet member for environment and transport. She was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 2016 until her election to Parliament.

Webbe is the first female Member of Parliament for Leicester East. She was elected to Parliament for the Labour Party in 2019, but was suspended from the party whip in September 2020 after being charged with harassment of a woman. She was convicted of harassment in October 2021 and expelled from Labour on 3 November 2021.

Early life and education

Webbe has described how she was born and brought up in Leicester[2] to parents of African descent who migrated from Nevis to the UK around the time of the Windrush generation.[3] She studied social science at De Montfort University, Leicester, followed by race and ethnic relations at Birkbeck, University of London.[4]

Operation Trident

Webbe is a founder and former Chair of Operation Trident,[5] a community-led initiative created in the mid-1990s to tackle the disproportionate effects of gun violence on black communities.[6] In 2010, it was reported that Operation Trident would be disbanded as part of spending cuts.[7]

In February 2013, Trident was reformed as the Trident Gang Crime Command to focus on youth violence, with the police chairing the Trident Independent Advisory Group itself.[8] Webbe opposed the change, and called it "a backwards step on race".[9]

Early political career

Webbe was a policy director and adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.[5]

Webbe stood for election as a councillor in Islington in 2006 but was unsuccessful.[10] She was elected as a Labour councillor to Islington London Borough Council in 2010, representing Bunhill ward.[11] She was re-elected in 2014 and 2018.[12] She served as the council's executive member for the environment and transport.[5] Webbe resigned as Islington councillor in March 2021.[13]

Considered to be a close ally of the then Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Webbe was elected to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) with support from the Momentum organisation in 2016, finishing third in the ballot with 92,377 votes.[5][4] In 2018, she was shortlisted to become the Labour candidate in the Lewisham East by-election, but finished third in a vote among local party members and was not selected.[14] In July 2018, she was elected as chair of the NEC Disputes Panel.[15] In 2018 Webbe was re-elected to the NEC, finishing second in the ballot with 83,797 votes.[16] She became ineligible to retain her NEC membership upon being elected to Parliament.[17]

Parliamentary career

She was selected as the Labour candidate for Leicester East for the 2019 general election; the party's incumbent MP, Keith Vaz, had stood down after being suspended from Parliament for six months. Her selection resulted in the resignation of the Constituency Labour Party chair, who described it as "a fix", and some in the local British Indian community were angry that one of their candidates was not interviewed.[18][19][20] Some saw it as a Momentum-led imposition of a left-wing candidate on a traditionally centrist constituency party.[4] Webbe was elected with a majority of 6,019. This compared with a 22,428 Labour majority in the seat in 2017; the Labour Party nationally suffered its worst election results since 1935.[citation needed]

Webbe sat on the Backbench Business Committee in the House of Commons between March 2020 and April 2021. As of September 2021, she sits on the Environmental Audit Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Committee of Arms Export Control.[21] She is also an "alternate member" of the UK delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.[22] As of September 2020, she is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs.[4]

In February 2021, Webbe apologised after an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found that she had broken the Code of Conduct for MPs by her multiple late (by months) registrations of remunerations received for her role as a councillor in Islington. The Commissioner also noted the late registration of a payment received from a business.[23] Also in 2021, Webbe stated on Twitter that "Earth is overpopulated; there are too many rich people. To solve the climate crisis; the rich must be abolished", a remark that drew criticism in view of her £81,000-per-year MP's salary.[24][25][26]

Harassment conviction

On 28 September 2020, Webbe was charged with harassment of a woman between 1 September 2018 and 26 April 2020. She was remanded to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court.[27] She was suspended from the Labour whip pending the outcome of the case.[4] On 11 November 2020, Webbe pleaded not guilty.[28] The harassment was directed at a woman whom Webbe believed to be having an affair with her partner, and included a threat to send explicit photographs of the victim to her children.[29] The threats also included her saying "You should be acid".[30]

Webbe was found guilty on 13 October 2021. District Judge Paul Goldspring, the Chief Magistrate, said her evidence was "untruthful", and that her defence was "vague, incoherent and at times illogical". A further hearing took place on 4 November 2021, when she was sentenced to ten weeks in custody, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work. The Labour Party had called on her to resign from Parliament at the time of her conviction[30] and she was expelled from the party on the day she was sentenced.[31] Webbe has appealled against the conviction.[32]

References

  1. ^ Brunskill, Ian (2020). The Times guide to the House of Commons 2019: the definitive record of Britain's historic 2019 General Election. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1. OCLC 1129682574.
  2. ^ Martin, Dan (13 November 2019). "Claudia Webbe chosen to replace Keith Vaz as Labour Leicester East General Election 2019 candidate". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  3. ^ Webbe, Claudia (12 March 2020). ""We are the city where the minorities make up the majority" – Claudia Webbe's maiden speech". LabourList. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Walker, Peter; Syal, Rajeev (28 September 2020). "Labour suspends MP Claudia Webbe over harassment charge". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Who's who on Labour's National Executive Committee?". New Statesman. 10 October 2016. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Q&A: Operation Trident". BBC News. 14 September 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  7. ^ Syal, Rajeev (21 November 2010). "Operation Trident may be ditched in spending cuts". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Trident Independent Advisory Group 'loses independence' claim". BBC News. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  9. ^ Dodd, Vikram (7 February 2013). "Met police shakeup of gang violence panel 'is backwards step' on race". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Hillrise Ward | Election Results Local 2006 Final Result" (PDF). 18 March 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Bunhill". Islington Council. 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Councillor details - Councillor Claudia Webbe". democracy.islington.gov.uk. 2 October 2021.
  13. ^ "By-election in Bunhill ward". Islington Council News. London Borough of Islington. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Watts to reappoint Claudia Webbe to Islington cabinet after failed Lewisham MP bid". Islington Citizen. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Claudia Webbe elected chair of Labour's disputes panel". Labourlist. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Corbyn supporters win all nine places in Labour's NEC election". inews.co.uk. 4 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Momentum reveals slate for local party reps". labourlist. 6 February 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  18. ^ Martin, Dan (18 November 2019). "Senior councillor quits Labour calling Corbyn 'a clown'". LeicestershireLive.
  19. ^ "Leicester East Labour chairman quits 'laughing stock' party". BBC News. 18 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Labour taking Indian-heritage voters for granted?". BBC. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  21. ^ "Parliamentary career for Claudia Webbe – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament". members.parliament.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  22. ^ "Member Countries". www.oscepa.org.
  23. ^ "Resolution letter: Ms Claudia Webbe MP" (PDF). www.parliament.uk. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Suspended Labour MP says 'rich must be abolished' to combat climate crisis". The Independent. 14 April 2021.
  25. ^ Steerpike (14 April 2021). "Claudia Webbe calls for her own abolition". The Spectator.
  26. ^ King, Jordan (14 April 2021). "MP says Earth is 'overpopulated' and calls for rich people to be 'abolished'".
  27. ^ Allegretti, Aubrey (28 September 2020). "Claudia Webbe: Leicester East MP charged with harassment against woman". Sky News. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  28. ^ Skopeliti, Clea (12 November 2020). "Claudia Webbe: MP threatened and made numerous unwanted calls to woman, court told". The Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  29. ^ "MP accused of making acid threat to friend of her partner, court hears". The Guardian. 27 September 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Claudia Webbe: MP guilty of threatening and harassing woman". BBC News. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  31. ^ Mack, Tom (4 November 2021). "MP Claudia Webbe kicked out of Labour Party after sentencing". LeicestershireLive. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  32. ^ "Claudia Webbe: MP's conviction appeal to be heard next year". BBC News. 9 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Leicester East

2019–present
Incumbent