Claudia Webbe: who is the Labour MP - and what has she been found guilty of?

The MP for Leicester East could face prison after being found guilty

A Labour MP has been found guilty of harassment with her party now calling on her to resign.

Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, could face a prison term after threatening to throw acid at her partner’s female friend.

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Here, we take a look at who the MP is, what she has been found guilty of and when she will be sentenced.

Who is Claudia Webbe?

Webbe, from Islington, north London, became an MP in December 2019 after winning the seat formerly held by Labour veteran Keith Vaz.

The 56-year-old was suspended from the Labour party in September 2020 after she was charged with harassment.

She has been an independent MP in the Commons since having the party whip removed.

What has Claudia Webbe been found guilty of?

The Labour MP has been found guilty of harassment.

Webbe threatened to throw acid at her boyfriend’s female friend because she was jealous of their relationship.

The Leicester East MP also said she would send naked pictures of 59-year-old Michelle Merritt to her family.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Webbe made the threats in a string of phone calls between September 1 2018 and April 26 last year.

In one, Webbe called Ms Merritt “a slag”, threatened her with acid and said she would send naked pictures and videos to her daughters.

In another call, recorded by the complainant, Webbe is heard telling the victim to “get out of my relationship” some 11 times.

Webbe, denied harassment, claiming she only made “courtesy calls” to warn Ms Merritt not to breach coronavirus regulations by meeting Lester Thomas.

What was said in court

Finding Webbe guilty following a two-day trial, Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said: “I do not find the defendant to be cogent, compelling and truthful in all aspects of her evidence.

“Some of the things she said I believe were made up on the spur of the moment.”

He added: “In short, I find Ms Webbe to be vague, incoherent and at times illogical and ultimately I find her to be untruthful.”

When will Claudia Webbe be sentenced?

Mr Goldspring adjourned sentencing to November 4 and released Webbe on unconditional bail, but warned her she could face prison.

“Threatening to throw acid at somebody and to send intimate photographs to family members crosses the custody threshold,” he said.

What Claudia Webbe said after the verdict

Her lawyers said she will appeal against the conviction and Webbe added in a statement: “I am deeply shocked by today’s verdict.

“I am innocent and will appeal this verdict.

“As I said in court and repeat now, I have never threatened violence nor have I ever harassed anyone.”

What has Labour said about Claudia Webbe?

Following the guilty verdict on Wednesday, a Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party strongly condemns Claudia Webbe’s actions and she should now resign.”

What Jeremy Corbyn said about Claudia Webbe

Paul Hynes QC, defending, read out a string of character references from figures including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

In character references, Ms Abbott said Webbe was “very committed to working to support women”, describing her “warm empathetic manner”.

“I regard her as a very honest woman,” she said.

Mr Corbyn said she was “very committed to ensuring the administration of justice is done” and prepared to “state uncomfortable truths when it matters”.

“I have no hesitation in recommending her as a person of good character who makes a positive contribution to our world.”

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