Claudia Webbe: Leicester East MP given suspended 10-week jail term after acid threat

Claudia Webbe leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court following her sentencing hearing. Credit: PA

An MP who threatened to use acid against her partner's female friend and reveal naked photographs of her has been spared an immediate jail sentence.

Claudia Webbe, Leicester East MP since 2019, was handed a suspended 10-week jail sentence, and 200 hours of community service at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

It's after a campaign of harassment of Michelle Merritt, a long-term friend of her boyfriend, Lester Thomas, who said she needed therapy after her ordeal.

Webbe, 56, was convicted last month after the court heard she also threatened to leak naked images of Ms Merritt and made a string of phone calls in which she warned her to “get out of my relationship” some 11 times.

The court heard the pair had never met in person.

The former Labour MP denied the allegation and said she felt like a “victim” herself due to the amount of abuse she received on social media.

Claudia Webbe has been the MP for Leicester East since 2019 Credit: PA Images

Paul Goldspring, the chief magistrate, described Webbe’s behaviour as “callous and intimidatory”.

Sentencing her on Thursday, he said: “You were jealous of the relationship between Lester Thomas and Michelle Merritt, and probably felt in some way threatened by it.”

He said Webbe "showed little remorse or contrition" and would have been jailed immediately were it not for her previous good character.

Webbe sits in the Commons as an Independent MP after being suspended by the Labour Party over the case.

Labour confirmed on Thursday Webbe has been expelled from the political party after her sentencing on Thursday.

The sentence means Webbe will face a recall petition, which could trigger a by-election if at least 10% of her constituents support it.

However, the process would have to wait until the outcome of any appeal by Webbe against her conviction, an avenue she said she is pursuing.

Following sentencing, Webbe said she was "very disappointed by the decision of the magistrate" and again stressed her innocence.

She added in a statement: “I am lodging an appeal and despite today’s sentence I fully expect the appeal to be granted and that, ultimately, it will be successful.

“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."