• Monday, May 16, 2022

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Claudia Webbe MP convicted of harassment spared jail

Claudia Webbe, MP. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A lawmaker from Britain’s main opposition party was given a suspended jail sentence Thursday (4) after being found guilty of threatening to throw acid at another woman she harassed.

Labour MP Claudia Webbe was convicted at a trial last month of harassing a long-term friend of her boyfriend, including by threatening to put naked pictures of her online.

Judge Paul Goldspring said the 56-year-old MP’s “callous and intimidatory” behaviour had been fuelled by jealousy and she had shown little remorse.

But he told Westminster Magistrates Court in central London that her previous good character had saved her from an immediate jail term.

Instead, he gave her a 10-week jail term, suspended for two years, meaning that if she reoffends during that period, she is liable to serve the custodial term.

He also ordered her to carry out 200 hours’ community service, and pay costs.

Webbe, who denied the charge, was elected in December 2019 to the Leicester East constituency in central England formerly represented by Labour’s Keith Vaz.

Vaz stood down just weeks before the general election after a parliamentary watchdog recommended he be suspended for six months for expressing a willingness to buy cocaine during an encounter with two male prostitutes.

A tabloid newspaper reported in 2016 that Vaz, posing as an industrial washing machine salesman called Jim, invited the pair to his flat and offered to pay for the drug.

Labour suspended Webbe over the case and she has sat as an independent. Her sentence could lead to a by-election if at least 10 percent of her constituents support it.

But Webbe said in a statement after the case that she was lodging an appeal against her conviction.

“I fully expect the appeal to be granted and that, ultimately, it will be successful,” she added.

“Throughout this process, I have received numerous threats to my life and vile racist abuse. The cowards responsible for these attacks will not deter me from clearing my name,” Webbe was quoted as saying by The Times.

Eastern Eye

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