Just when you thought Parliament couldn’t sink any lower, along comes jailbird MP Fiona Onasanya to cast the deciding vote in favour of the latest Stop Brexitmanoeuvre.
Onasanya walked through the voting lobby wearing the electronic ankle tag with which she was fitted after being released early from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.
Her participation ensured that the Bill to change the law so that Britain can’t leave the EU without a ‘deal’ passed by the narrowest of margins, 313 to 312.
Onasanya, MP for Peterborough, served just 28 days of a three-month sentence for perverting the course of justice, after repeatedly lying to police to avoid a speeding fine.
If she had been forced to complete her full term she would still have been in prison and, therefore, unable to vote.
Such is the desperation of those determined to defy the democratic will of the British people that they are prepared to rely on the help of a convicted criminal to get their way.
We now live in a country where the vote of a single, disgraced MP outweighs the votes of 17.4 million people in a referendum.
If the division had been held any earlier in the day, Onasanya may not have been able to take part. She rushed to Westminster from an industrial tribunal, where she is accused of discriminating against a disabled employee who was told to use the men’s toilet because she couldn’t climb the stairs. You couldn’t make it up, especially as Onasanya isn’t shy when it comes to using the discrimination card to air her own grievances.
Over the years, we’ve seen sick MPs stretchered in to the House to take part in crucial votes. As recently as last summer, the Labour MP Naz Shah was pushed through the lobby in a wheelchair, dosed up on morphine, and with a bucket on her lap, just in case she threw up while casting her vote.
But Onasanya is the first MP who has turned up to vote wearing an ankle tag, while technically still serving a custodial sentence.
She had previously voted against Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. This is regardless of the fact that more than 60 per cent of her constituents in Peterborough voted Leave.
She’s currently fighting a recall petition aimed at forcing her to stand down and face a by-election. She can’t be kicked out automatically because her sentence was less than 12 months. Despite her conviction, and her appeal being turned down by three judges, Onasanya continues to protest her innocence both in public and on social media.
She recently appeared in a bizarre YouTube video with the New York skyline in the background. It looked as if she was auditioning for the old David Letterman show. The current king of late-night TV in America, Britain’s James Corden, might have to look to his laurels.
It can only be a matter of time before she features on Car Pool Karaoke, singing I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)!
The Labour Party withdrew the whip after she was convicted, but we’re told nothing could be done to stop her voting in the Commons. Really? I’m sure Speaker Bercow could have come up with some arcane rule which would have prevented her casting a vote.
After all, he’s already reached back to the 1600s in his apparent determination to Stop Brexit. And he continues to tear up the rule book and override precedent.
The Bill to extend Article 50 was rammed through in just four hours. Bercow’s behaviour has been described as a ‘constitutional outrage’ by Brexiteers.
Outside the Westminster Bubble, most people would think that allowing a convicted criminal wearing an ankle tag to cast the deciding vote on a crucial Bill affecting Britain’s future was also a constitutional outrage
Yet the Speaker and the other 312 MPs who voted in favour of the motion, put forward by Oliver Leftwing and Pixie Balls-Cooper, could see nothing wrong with Onasanya helping their cause. They would have been screaming blue murder if she’d voted the other way. You can bet your life that Bercow would have come up with something, anything, to stop that happening.
You might also have hoped that one, just one, ‘honourable’ member planning to vote in favour would have been seized by a pang of conscience and abstained, to cancel out Onasanya’s vote.
But no. As far as the Remain headbangers are concerned, Brexit must be derailed at any cost, even if that means the last vestiges of decency being thrown out of the window.
To make matters worse, Onasanya wasn’t the only crooked MP allowed to vote this week.
Tory Chris Davies, member for Brecon and Radnorshire, trooped through the lobby while awaiting sentencing for fraud.
He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of forgery and one count of providing false and misleading claims, relating to his election expenses. He, too, faces a recall petition.
Davies actually voted against the motion, so his vote did cancel out Onasanya’s. But that’s not the point. Neither of them should have been taking part.
One is still serving her sentence, even if she’s not behind bars where she belongs. The other has admitted his crimes and is awaiting his fate. Both have forfeited their right to sit as MPs.
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