Steerpike Steerpike

Claudia Webbe goes missing in action

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Pity the poor people of Leicester East. Having finally rid themselves of the disgraced Keith Vaz in 2019, the long-standing Labour constituency now finds itself lumbered with convicted criminal Claudia Webbe. Despite being slapped with a suspended jail sentence, Webbe still clings on in the Commons, pending her appeal, after her barrister’s pleas for the last judge to ‘consider my client’s suffering as a black woman’ was, er, unsuccessful. If her appeal fails, a by-election will (finally) be triggered. Let’s hope next time Labour pick someone who won’t threaten others with acid – nor get caught in a Sunday Mirror drugs and escort sting…

With all her appearances in court, it’s no surprise that Webbe is being accused of neglecting her long-suffering constituents. Infrequently attending Parliament – other than to gatecrash Keir Starmer’s photo-ops – her most high-profile activity in recent weeks has been the revelation that she will be able to keep the £500 dining chairs she expensed if she’s kicked out of the Commons. And now Mr S has got the figures to illustrate just how lacklustre Webbe’s contribution in Parliament has been.

Having bagged herself a seat on the prestigious Foreign Affairs Select Committee in May last year, Webbe appears to have done little with it since. For the Foreign Affairs Committee attendance list for 2019-21 reveals she comes bottom of the 11-man list, attending less than half of the events held in that time, with 18 of 39 or 46.2 per cent. Indeed her (only) highlight during the last 18 months here appears to have been her bizarre interrogation of Dominic Raab over Afghanistan when she memorably mispronounced the word ‘Belarus’ and appeared unaware of the decade-long Soviet occupation. Lord Palmerston, she is not.

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Still, Mr S hears that upcoming events for Webbe to sink her teeth into include the committee doing a wargaming exercise on the inquiry into the Indo-Pacific Tilt – god help the Taiwanese – and a joint jaunt to Sarajevo, with a chance to brush up on the history of the region.

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