Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe handed suspended sentence after threatening partner's female friend with acid 6 months ago

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe handed suspended sentence after threatening partner's female friend with acid

MP Claudia Webbe will serve a 10-week custodial sentence after a court found her guilty of harassment against her boyfriend's female friend

Independent MP Claudia Webbe has been sentenced for threatening to throw acid at her boyfriend’s female friend. 

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Webbe has been handed a 10-week custodial sentence suspended for two years.

She must also complete 200 hours of community service.

Webbe, 56, was found guilty of harassment last month (October 13) after Westminster Magistrates' Court heard evidence she made numerous short, silent telephone calls from a withheld number, before hanging up.

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In one of the calls, Webbe threatened Merrit with acid and warned she would send Merrit’s naked pictures and videos to her daughters.

Webbe claimed she only made “courtesy calls” to warn Merritt not to breach coronavirus regulations by meeting her boyfriend, Lester Thomas. 

Webbe became an Independent MP in September 2020 after being suspended from the Labour party in September 2020 pending the outcome of this trial. 

In a statement read to Westminster Magistrates Court in October, former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn described the politician as a person of good character who was committed to “administration of justice”

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Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Webbe was "honest, responsible and an extremely caring person".

Labour staffers aren’t so sure

One current staffer described her as “very hostile and rude” adding: “I hate to say it because it plays into that racist trope, she is a nightmare”.

A former staffer told PoliticsJOE “I wouldn’t say she was a bully, it’s more she knew f*** all about her seat”

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Following her conviction, Labour MPs urged the former MP to stand down

Speaking on Sky News following the guilty verdict, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Emily Thornberry said: "I've know Claudia a long time.

"She was a councillor in my constituency, she was well respected... but given that she has been convicted. This is a serious matter [and] I do think she should stand down."

Webbe was elected under Corbyn’s leadership in the 2019 General Election

Webbe, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, was elected as Labour MP for Leicester East with a majority of 6,019.

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In September 2020, the Leicester East MP was suspended by the Labour Party pending the outcome of this trial. 

During her trial, the Former Labour leader supplied a character reference for Webbe. A court was told she was "very committed to ensuring the administration of justice is done" and prepared to "state uncomfortable truths when it matters".

Former Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott described the defendant was "very committed to working to support women", describing her "warm, empathetic manner" and adding "I regard her as a very honest woman."

Pending trial, Webbe continued her day-to-day duties as an independent Member of Parliament

During a Foreign Affairs Select Committee meeting earlier this year in July, Webbe asked a rather embarrassing question to Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab.

Webbe tried to put the Foreign Secretary on the spot over Belarus but her question, frankly, didn’t make any sense. 

She asked: “Why does the government not consider legal action to be necessary in the case of Belarus?”

Perplexed, Raab attempted to clarify: “In the case of, I didn't catch the name, why don't we consider sorry, what, legal action, on Belarus?”

Webbe pushed on: “Why does the government not consider legal action to be necessary in the case of Belarus?”

The minister continued: "Sorry, what I was trying to clarify is who do you want us to sue and where?"

The MP for Leicester East struggled to find an answer throughout the agonising exchange. 

Claudia Webbe is the second sitting MP to be jailed in two years

Fiona Onasanya, the former Labour MP for Peterborough, was convicted for perverting the course of justice in January 2019 after she lied to police over a speeding ticket. 

Following a subsequent by-election, Labour’s Peterborough seat fell to the Tories. 

Veteran Labour MP, Keith Vaz, is rumoured to challenge the seat at the pending by-election. 

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