Fiona Onasanya: Peterborough MP guilty in speeding case

Fiona OnasanyaImage copyright

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Fiona Onasanya was issued a speeding ticket a week after she was elected as MP

An MP has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice by lying to police about who was behind the wheel of a speeding car.

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya denied she was driving her car when it was caught doing 41mph in a 30mph zone in Thorney, Cambridgeshire, in July 2017.

The 35-year-old Labour MP was convicted in an Old Bailey retrial.

A Labour Party spokesman said she had been “administratively suspended” and called for her to resign.

He added: “The Labour Party is deeply disappointed in Fiona Onasanya’s behaviour. It falls well below what is expected of politicians. She should now resign.”

The MP’s brother Festus Onasanya, 33, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice.

The pair will be sentenced on a date yet to be set.

After the verdict, the judge Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said: “This is not going to be easy, not to give any indication one way or the other [about sentencing].”

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Festus Onasanya pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice

During her retrial, after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict, the court was told the MP’s Nissan Micra car was caught near Peterborough just after 22:00 BST on 24 July last year.

She received a Notice of Intended Prosecution that required her to state whether she was driving the car at the time or to identify who was.

The authorities were told that the family’s former lodger Aleks Antipow had been behind the wheel, but inquiries revealed he had been in Russia visiting his family at the time.

A fake address and telephone number were also provided, which the prosecution said would make Mr Antipow “untraceable to the police” and the “true driver” would escape prosecution.

Her former communications manager Dr Christian DeFeo came forward during the first trial to give evidence against the MP, after his wife forwarded him an article from the a local newspaper about the case.

He said the she visited their house, a short distance from the speed camera in Thorney, on the evening of 24 July and that she arrived and left alone.

The court heard Onasanya’s mobile phone was being used in the vicinity of the speed camera at the time of the offence.

And she claimed to the jury that her brother “would have had to be driving me” because “I don’t use my phone when driving”.

Onasanya had been elected as an MP six weeks before the speeding offence took place, but stood down as a Labour whip in November.

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