Fiona Onasanya has been removed from her Peterborough constituency seat in a recall petition, and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will be contesting the upcoming by-election.
Ms Onasanya was expelled from the Labour Party after being convicted of perverting the course of justice for lying about a speeding offence in December.
The politician was sentenced in January, but as the sentence was less than one year, she was not automatically disqualified from sitting in the House of Commons and she continued to represent her constituency as an independent Member of Parliament.
However, a recall petition in Peterborough has obtained the signatures of 27.6 per cent of the constituency’s electorate — only 10 per cent was needed to oust the lawmaker — with Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow confirming on Wednesday evening that Ms Onasanya is no longer an MP and there will be a by-election to contest the seat.
Brexiteers had expressed anger in April when Remainer MPs pushed through a bill that would block a No Deal exit from the EU and delay Brexit by a majority of one vote — with the help Onasanya, who had voted for the bill, after being released from prison on licence, whilst wearing an electronic tag.
‘A Tainted Result’ – Anger as Criminal MP ‘Wearing a Tag’ Helps Anti-Brexit Bill Pass by One Vote https://t.co/dhPvKqyo5y
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 4, 2019
The Brexit-backing constituency of Peterborough only elected the former Labour politician with a slim majority of 607 in 2017’s General Election, the seat previously held for the Tories by Brexit supporter Stewart Jackson.
Ms Onasanya is the first MP to be recalled using the constituency petition system, which was introduced by former prime minister David Cameron in 2015 in the wake of the expenses scandal — although it was significantly watered down from the “real recall” powers for the public which campaigners had been demanding.
On hearing the news, Nigel Farage said, “I can confirm that the Brexit Party will fight the Peterborough by-election. We will give it our best shot.”
A spokesman for Mr Farage told the BBC that it has not yet been determined if Mr Farage will run for the seat himself.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 2, 2019
Founded earlier in the year in anticipation that Prime Minister Theresa May would betray her pledge to deliver Brexit on March 29th and pull the UK into May’s European Parliament election, the Brexit Party has revealed a series of candidates for the EU-wide polls and is set to come out on top — ahead of the Tories and Labour — according to recent polling by YouGov for The Times‘s Redbox where The Brexit Party leads Labour by nine points.
While Mr Farage has expressed his intention to take the party to Westminster in 2022’s General Election, this by-election — where the constituency voted 61 per cent in favour of leaving the EU in June 2016’s referendum — would be an opportunity for the party to cut its teeth on national politics.
Local sources told The Guardian that the by-election will likely be held on June 6th, after European Parliament elections, and the Labour and Conservative parties will also be contesting the seat.
Onasanya is also eligible to stand again, although she has not indicated that she will do so.