WITH MP Apsana Begum due in court on the 10th December charged with housing fraud, MP Claudia Webbe has become the second MP from the Labour Party at risk of losing her seat, after being charged with harrassment.
Webbe, who was elected Labour MP for Leicester East in December 2019, was charged with one count of harassment against a woman on September 28th.
The 55-year-old from Islington made numerous abusive unwanted telephone calls to the female, a court has heard, and has pleaded not guilty to one charge of harassment during a 20-minute hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Webbe spoke only to confirm her name, her age, and her address and to formally enter her not guilty plea.
In a statement on 28 September, Webbe said: “I am innocent of any wrongdoing and look forward to proving this in court.”
“I will be vigorously defending myself against these claims.”
Webbe has, however, acknowledged that the calls were made.
Webbe was released on unconditional bail and the trial was rescheduled to 16th March 2021.
The Metropolitan Police supplied evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service detailing claims of harassment between 1st September 2018 and 26th April 2020.
Jenny Hopkins, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Criminal proceedings against Ms Webbe are now active and she has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The ongoing trial comes as another scandalous blow to the Labour Party, as Tower Hamlets MP – a close associate of disgraced ‘vote-rigger’ Lutfur Rahman – was officially charged for housing fraud.
Apsana Begum, 29, was given a £330,000 desirable riverside property just months after moving out of her estranged husband’s home. Official complaints were made over how the far-left Corbynista leapt to the top of a 18,000-strong housing list, despite having no children.
Allegedly using her contacts at the council, Begum is thought to have applied for a council flat while living with her family in 2011. Begum moved in with her husband in 2014 but the couple split a year later.
Within just six months Ms Begum was offered the one-bed Isle of Dogs flat in a riverside block – jumping her own constituents; families and vulnerable residents, some of whom have been waiting desperately on the list for years.
Tower Hamlets only has the capacity to house 1,700 people per year, on a list of over 18,000 applicants.
A source from a political organisation in Tower Hamlets said: “She’s still in the flat despite earning £82,000 plus expenses a year as MP, and yet has the audacity to complain about housing shortages. The council are taking their time to ensure all their ducks are in a row. It has the potential to be bigger than the Onasanya saga”.
Fiona Onasanya, a former Peterborough Labour MP, was outed by her constituents via a recall petition after being caught and convicted for lying about a driving offence.
Section 1 of the Recall Act dictates that the Speaker of the House can trigger a recall petition if a sitting MP received a custodial sentence of under a year. Anything over a year leads to automatic dismissal of the MP without the need for a petition.
If either Begum or Webbe are handing a custodial sentence, they are automatically prone to having to undergo such a petition and risk being booted from the commons.