The conviction of Peterborough’s MP Fiona Onasanya has left the prospect of a Parliamentary by-election in the balance.
Her initial sentence – three months in jail – is not sufficient to automatically remove her from office, though it will automatically trigger a recall petition once the appeals timeline is played out.* If 1 in 10 electors sign it, then that will force a by-election.
However, things may now move more quickly as a review of her jail sentence is being carried out – and so it could yet be increased to the level which would remove her from the House of Commons.
As the BBC reports:
An MP’s jail term for lying to police over a speeding ticket is being reviewed after a complaint it was unduly lenient…
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said: “We have received a request for the case of Fiona Onasanya to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.”
“The Law Officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case.”
If deemed unduly lenient, the case will be referred to the Court of Appeal which will decide whether or not to increase the sentence.
Anyone can make a request to the Attorney General’s Office, and only one request is required for a sentence to be reviewed.
UPDATE: The Solicitor General has decided not to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.
* In theory, the House of Commons could also use its powers to expel an MP, but such powers are – quite rightly – only very rarely used.