Hapless left-winger Claudia Webbe has lost an appeal against her harassment conviction. The guilty verdict against the MP was upheld at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, but she could escape the prospect of a recall petition in Leicester East after the judge reduced her original suspended sentence to community service.
Webbe was found guilty in October and handed a suspended sentence the following month. The recall petition was put on hold pending her appeal. She was expelled from Labour after sentencing and the party called on her to resign her seat. Webbe refused and continues to represent Leicester East as an independent. The party has repeated its call for her to vacate the seat following the appeal decision.
As Webbe is no longer facing a custodial sentence a recall petition is not currently on the cards. However, there is still a route by which it could still be triggered. If the Parliamentary Standards Committee acts on her conviction and suspends her from the Commons for ten days or more then the petition will proceed.
In order to remove her from office, at least ten per cent of her constituents would need to sign the recall petition. A by-election would then be held. One of the favourites to succeed Webbe in that scenario is none other than her predecessor - Keith Vaz. The disgraced Vaz returned to the frontline of local politics following Webbe's conviction, fuelling rumours of a possible run for his old seat.
Webbe's majority at the 2019 general election was 6,019. Vaz's majority at the previous general election was 22,428.