Fiona Onasanya

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Fiona Onasanya

Official portrait of Fiona Onasanya crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Peterborough
Assumed office
8 June 2017
Preceded byStewart Jackson
Majority607 (1.3%)
Personal details
Born
Fiona Oluyinka Onasanya

(1983-08-23) 23 August 1983 (age 35)
Cambridge, England, UK
Political partyIndependent (2018–present)
Labour (until 2018)
EducationUniversity of Hertfordshire
College of Law
WebsiteOfficial website

Fiona Oluyinka Onasanya (/ˌɒnəˈsænjə/; born 23 August 1983)[1][2] is a British politician and former practising solicitor, who was elected as the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Peterborough[3] in 2017.[4]

On 19 December 2018, Onasanya was found guilty of perverting the course of justice for lying to police to avoid a speeding charge.[5] Her expulsion from the Labour Party, effective in December 2018, was announced in January 2019.[6][7]

Early life and career[edit]

Onasanya was born in Cambridge and is of Nigerian ancestry.[8] Her parents, Frank and Paulina Onasanya,[9][10] separated when she was three and she lived with her mother and younger brother.[11] Onasanya was educated at Netherhall School and [12] studied law at the University of Hertfordshire[12][13] and the University of Law.[12] She worked at the solicitors Nockolds, then Eversheds. Following her admission as a solicitor in November 2015, she worked at Howes Percival, then DC Law, specialising in commercial property law.[13][14][15][16]

Onasanya was elected as Labour Cambridgeshire County Councillor for King's Hedges in Cambridge in 2013 and became deputy leader of the Labour group on the council.[17] She was also the local party's spokeswoman for children and young people.[18] In 2017 she unsuccessfully sought the nomination to be Labour's candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.[12]

Onasanya moved to Peterborough in 2014.[11]

Parliamentary career[edit]

For the 2017 general election, Onasanya was selected by the Labour Party to stand in the constituency of Peterborough, which had been held since 2005 by Stewart Jackson, a Conservative. Onasanya defeated Jackson with a majority of 607 votes and a 2.7% swing to Labour.[4] In July 2017, she said that she wished to be Britain's first black female prime minister.[19]

Onasanya was appointed as a Labour whip and as a parliamentary private secretary to Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith.[20][21] She achieved some prominence when she quoted lyrics from Man's Not Hot, a viral song, during a Budget debate in November 2017.[22][23] She voted remain in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.[24]

Following the guilty verdict on the perverting the course of justice charge, it was announced in January 2019 that she had been expelled from the Labour Party in December 2018.[6][7]

Conviction for perverting the course of justice[edit]

In July 2018, Onasanya was charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to two speeding incidents which occurred in 2017.[25] The first charge alleged that she was driving the vehicle during a speeding incident on 24 July 2017 but that, with her brother Festus Onasanya, she had claimed that someone else was driving. The second charge concerned a speeding incident on 23 August 2017 when Festus is alleged to have been the one driving.[1] Her brother was charged with three counts, two relating to the same incidents as his sister.[26][27] She appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 12 July 2018.[20][1][28] Onasanya said on 27 July 2018 that she "strongly refutes any suggestions that I have broken the law".[27] On 13 August 2018 at the Old Bailey, she pleaded not guilty to the one charge against her, relating to an alleged offence in Thorney, Cambridgeshire in July 2017. Her trial date was set for 12 November 2018.[29]

A week before he was due to face trial with his sister, Festus Onasanya admitted three counts of perverting the course of justice.[30] At the first trial, Onasanya said she did not know who was driving on 24 July 2017.[31] She said that she initially mistakenly assumed that she could not have been driving the car on 24 July 2017 due to political commitments and left a Notice of Intended Prosecution' (NIP) to be dealt with by whoever had been driving. Her brother, she said, then likely returned the form claiming someone else had been driving.[32] She said she now realised that she did have an appointment that would be consistent with her being the driver but could not remember whether she kept the appointment.[31][33] On 26 November 2018, the jury was dismissed as it was unable to reach a verdict.[34]

In a retrial in December 2018, she was unanimously found guilty of perverting the course of justice.[35] She will be sentenced alongside her brother on a date yet to be determined. Following the verdict, she was immediately suspended from the Labour Party, which also called on her to resign as an MP. She was expelled from the party on the following day.[6][5] Her local paper, the Peterborough Telegraph, also called on her to resign.[36]

Onasanya continued to profess her innocence, saying in a message to other Labour MPs that she was "in good biblical company along with Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three Hebrew friends who were each found guilty by the courts of their day." and that "Christ ... was accused and convicted by the courts of his day and yet this was not his end but rather the beginning of the next chapter in his story".[37] A week later, she indicated that she would not resign her seat.[38] She has applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the verdict.[39][40]

Her sentencing hearing has been set for 29 January.[41] A custodial sentence of more than a year, including a suspended one, would lead to her being expelled as an MP automatically, in accordance with the Representation of the People Act 1981. For a sentence of less than a year, a recall petition would be started after the appeals process had concluded. The local Labour Party has said that it would "actively" campaign in favour of such a petition.[42][43]

Personal life[edit]

She attends iCAN community church in East London[12] and is a member of Christians on the Left (formerly the Christian Socialist Movement). Her religious beliefs partly stem from being involved in a road traffic collision as a child, when, although Onasanya was badly injured, her mother took her home and prayed rather than taking her to hospital.[44][better source needed]

She is a patron of Women Worldwide Advocating Freedom and Equality[45] and was a trustee of East Hertfordshire YMCA, which closed in June 2018.[12]

Onasanya stated during her trial that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.[33][44]

See also[edit]

  • Chris Huhne – former Liberal Democrat MP convicted of perverting the course of justice over a speeding case in relation to the matter of who was driving.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fisher, Paul (25 July 2018). "Everything we know so far about the court case against Peterborough Labour MP Fiona Onasanya". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. ^ MP convicted of perverting the course of justice | The Crown Prosecution Service
  3. ^ "Fiona Onasanya MP". UK Parliament.
  4. ^ a b "Peterborough parliamentary constituency – Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b "MP convicted of speeding driver lie". BBC News. 19 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Fiona Onasanya expelled by Labour as party chief tells Peterborough voters - 'you were failed'". Peterborough Telegraph. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Sabbagh, Dan (4 January 2019). "Labour confirms expulsion of convicted MP Fiona Onasanya". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Asadu, Chinedu (9 June 2017). "Onwurah, Osamor, Onasanya… meet the seven British Nigerians elected into UK parliament". The Cable. Nigerias. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  9. ^ "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Life-changing election victory for Peterborough's new MP".
  10. ^ "PressReader.com – Connecting People Through News". www.pressreader.com.
  11. ^ a b Lamy, Joel (15 July 2017). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Life-changing election victory for Peterborough's new MP". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Carr, Tim; Dale, Iain; Waller, Robert (7 September 2017). "The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2017". Biteback Publishing – via Google Books.
  13. ^ a b Hyde, John (26 July 2018). "Solicitor MP charged with perverting course of justice". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  14. ^ Onasanya, Fiona. ukwhoswho.com. Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 14 February 2018. closed access publication – behind paywall
  15. ^ "(Law Society records)".
  16. ^ "(Linked In)".
  17. ^ Lamy, Joel (2 May 2017). "Labour reveals Peterborough election candidate to take on Stewart Jackson". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  18. ^ Walker, Peter (25 July 2018). "Labour MP charged with perverting the course of justice". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  19. ^ Adebambo, Gbenga. "Fiona Onasanya: Dreaming to become Britain's first black female Prime Minister — Saturday Magazine — The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper – Nigeria and World News". Guardian.ng. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  20. ^ a b Fisher, Paul (25 July 2018). "Peterborough Labour MP Fiona Onasanya charged with perverting the course of justice". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  21. ^ "PressReader.com – Connecting People Through News". www.pressreader.com.
  22. ^ Simpson, Fiona (25 July 2018). "Labour MP charged with perverting the course of justice". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  23. ^ "MP quotes grime star Big Shaq in Commons". BBC News. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  24. ^ Lamy, Joel (26 September 2018). "Peterborough MP signals support for second Brexit vote". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  25. ^ "MP Fiona Onasanya accused of lying about speeding". BBC News. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  26. ^ Heffer, Greg (25 July 2018). "Labour MP Fiona Onasanya charged after 'lying about speeding'". Sky News. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  27. ^ a b "MP denies she lied about speeding". 27 July 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  28. ^ "Labour MP in court charged with perverting the course of justice". BT. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  29. ^ Elgot, Jessica (13 August 2018). "Labour MP pleads not guilty to perverting course of justice". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Labour MP's brother admits perverting course of justice". The Guardian. 5 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya 'did not know' who was driving when her car was caught speeding". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk.
  32. ^ Syal, Rajeev (20 November 2018). "Labour MP tells court she doesn't know who drove speeding Nissan" – via www.theguardian.com.
  33. ^ a b "MP 'suffering from incurable illness'". BBC News. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  34. ^ Davies, Gareth (26 November 2018). "Jury fail to reach verdict in case of Labour MP Fiona Onasanya". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  35. ^ Syal, Rajeev (19 December 2018). "Labour MP guilty of lying over speeding charge". The Guardian.
  36. ^ Edwards, Mark (20 December 2018). "Peterborough Telegraph Editor's Comment: Unfortunately no longer fit to be an MP". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  37. ^ Schofield, Kevin (20 December 2018). "Labour MP convicted of perverting course of justice compares herself to Jesus". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  38. ^ Onasanya, Fiona (28 December 2018). "I will continue to fight against injustices". Peterborough Today. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  39. ^ "Fiona Onasanya: Peterborough MP appeals against conviction". BBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  40. ^ Lamy, Joel (17 January 2019). "Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya appeals conviction for perverting the course of justice". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  41. ^ 17:35 (2019-01-16). "Date set for Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya to be sentenced for perverting the course of justice - Peterborough Telegraph". Peterboroughtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  42. ^ Lamy, Joel (4 January 2019). "Fiona Onasanya expelled by Labour as party chief tells Peterborough voters - 'you were failed'". www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk. Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  43. ^ name="pt-20190117a"
  44. ^ a b Yorke, Harry (19 December 2018). "Fiona Onasanya faces possible jail sentence after being found guilty of lying to police". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  45. ^ "Fiona Onasanya MP – Women's History Network". womenshistorynetwork.org.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stewart Jackson
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
2017–present
Incumbent