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  1. ITV Report

Date set for by-election after successful petition to recall MP Fiona Onasanya

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

The date for a by-election to replace independent MP Fiona Onasanya has been set as June 6, after a petition to recall her from her Peterborough seat attracted thousands of signatures.

Some 19,261 registered voters in the constituency signed the petition - 27.64% of those eligible to take part and well above the 10% threshold for a recall.

The 35-year-old lawyer, who was jailed for perverting the course of justice, becomes the first MP ever to be removed by the recall process, introduced by David Cameron in 2015.

Commons Speaker John Bercow also confirmed the recall petition had been successful.

  • ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand on this unprecedented decision

He told MPs: "I must advise the House that I have received notification from the petition officer for the constituency of Peterborough, in respect of the recall petition for Fiona Onasanya.

"The recall petition process for the constituency of Peterborough, established under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, closed today at 5pm.

"As more than 10% of those eligible signed the petition have done so, I advise the House that the petition was successful.

"Fiona Onasanya is no longer the member for Peterborough and the seat is accordingly vacant.

"She can therefore no longer participate in any parliamentary proceedings as a Member of Parliament."

Ms Onasanya's constituents had mixed feelings about their MPs fate.

One woman told ITV News that she believed ms Onasanya had "already been held responsible".

"She already spent one month in prison and there's more to a person than just the mistake they make," she said.

Others said she "had to go".

"Rather than just take the points and move on, I would have forgiven her for that, cause she's only human, but she just kept lying and lying and lying and trying to frame other people, so she has to go," one woman told ITV News.

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Ms Onasanya was jailed for three months in January for lying to police to avoid a speeding ticket.

The former Labour MP for Peterborough was found guilty of perverting the court of justice following a retrial in December.

Ms Onasanya took the marginal seat from the Tories with a majority of just 607 at the 2017 election just 18 months ago.

She had faced calls to step down and allow a by-election to take place in her constituency but refused.

Ms Onasanya is the first MP ever to be removed by the recall process. Credit: PA

Parliamentary rules require the removal of an MP who is jailed for 12 months which meant Onasanya did not immediately lose her seat, but a recall petition can force a by-election if it is signed by more than 10% of the electorate, as it was in the Cambridgeshire seat.

Ms Onasanya has maintained her innocence throughout her prosecution.

Labour chairman Ian Lavery said: "Labour campaigned hard for a victory in this recall petition.

"The people of Peterborough clearly agree that Fiona Onasanya is not fit to be their MP and we're delighted they will now have the chance to vote for a Labour MP in our excellent candidate, Lisa Forbes."

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Peterborough Paul Bristow said: "The people of Peterborough deserve a better MP who will vote in Parliament to deliver Brexit."

Nigel Farage said his new party would contest the by-election. He tweeted: "I can confirm that @brexitparty_uk will fight the Peterborough by-election. We will give it our best shot."

Mr Farage told ITV News he will not be standing in the by-election, which is seen as a real opportunity for the Brexit Party.