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Steerpike

Claudia Webbe given suspended jail sentence

Claudia Webbe given suspended jail sentence
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Well there we are then. Claudia Webbe, the MP for Leicester East, has this afternoon been sentenced to a suspended 10-week jail sentence and 200 hours’ community service for threatening to throw acid at a friend of her boyfriend and send naked pictures of the victim to her family.  

Webbe, who was convicted of harassment last month, now faces a recall petition if her appeal against the verdict is not successful. Given her fellow MPs in Westminster seem so keen at present to close loopholes for misbehaving colleagues, Mr S wonders if they will consider the case of those who are convicted in a criminal court but get to remain in Parliament at taxpayers' expense, on the basis of an appeal. Unlike Owen Paterson, Webbe has shown no sign of resigning any time soon...

Elected as a Labour MP in 2019, she managed to have the whip removed within nine months of entering Parliament. With the party set to begin reselecting MPs next week ahead of a presumed 2023 election, Steerpike suggests Webbe's chances of standing again on a Labour platform are, er, slim, to say the least, with sources claiming she has now been expelled as a party member.

She is of course the seventh elected Labour MP to be handed a jail sentence, suspended or otherwise, in the past 10 years, following in the footsteps of Eric Illsley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine, Denis MacShane, Elliot Morley (all expenses-related) and Fiona Onasanya (perverting the course of justice.)  

Speaking in court today Webbe's victim said: 'My self confidence has plummeted, I have anxiety attacks, I have almost become a hermit. I have fallen into huge debt, I desperately wanted to move away from the area Ms Webbe said she knew I lived in.' 

True to form, Webbe spent the last few hours before the verdict was delivered blocking people who criticised her on Twitter, with her barrister making a last ditch effort to ask the judge to 'please consider my clients suffering as a black woman and the abuse she encounters.'

In light of the appalling treatment which Webbe dispensed to her victim, Mr S agrees she would indeed know all about encountering abuse. So much for socialist solidarity eh?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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