The Labour MP facing jail for lying to police to avoid a speeding charge has been kicked out the party.
Fiona Onasanya, who compared herself to Jesus and Moses after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice, had said she intended to remain a Labour MP despite calls for her to quit.
But Ian Lavery, the party’s chairman, announced she had been expelled after her refusal to leave, allowing a new Labour candidate to fight a by-election.
Onasanya is awaiting sentence, and offered no apology, but will now have to represent Peterborough as an independent MP.
In her regular column in her local paper, the Peterborough Telegraph, she recently offered a defiant defence of her record.
She claimed the past year had been a success for her in ‘fighting injustices’, but added: ‘There is still much more to be done, and you can rest assured that I will continue to do so as your representative in the corridors of power.’
The paper’s editor defended publishing the column by pointing out that Onasanya still represented the city. But in a statement to the Peterborough Telegraph, Mr Lavery said: ‘Fiona isn’t a member of the Labour Party, she isn’t a Labour MP.
‘People here in Peterborough voted for a Labour MP.
‘She was suspended from the party and she was expected to resign. She hasn’t, regrettably.
‘We would still at this very last moment suggest the best thing would be for Fiona to act responsibly and resign. We would be raring to go for a by-election. We’re up for it.’
Onasanya – a solicitor and former Labour whip who had been in charge of maintaining party discipline – faces a possible jail sentence after being found to have lied ‘persistently and deliberately’ to police about who was driving her car at the time of the speeding charge.
Following her conviction she sent an extraordinary message to a WhatsApp group for Labour MPs in which she compared herself to Jesus and Moses, telling them: ‘I am in good biblical company along with Joseph, Moses, Daniel… who were each found guilty by the courts of their day. Of course this is equally true of Christ and yet this was not his end but rather the beginning of the next chapter in his story.’
Onasanya lied to police about who was driving her car to avoid penalty points after it was recorded at 41mph in a 30mph zone in Peterborough.
The jury in her original trial was unable to reach a verdict. But she was found guilty in a retrial.
Labour has effectively called for a by-election in her Peterborough constituency, which she won last year from Conservative Stewart Jackson by 607 votes.
A fresh vote could prove problematic for Labour. Not only is the constituency one of the most marginal in the country, 60.9 per cent of the constituents voted for Brexit.
During the court case, Onasanya was accused of colluding with her brother Festus. A week before the original trial, he admitted perverting the course of justice to avoid speeding prosecutions on three occasions, including this incident.
The siblings are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey.
She could become the first MP to be imprisoned since former Lib Dem Cabinet minister Chris Huhne was jailed for a similar offence in 2013. MPs are disqualified from holding their seat if they are sentenced to more than a year in jail.