Thursday, 31 January 2019

Undue Leniency

For all their claims that they could earn twice as much outside Parliament, more than half of MPs who lose their seats are still unemployed a year later. When they can find work, then it very often as a favour from a friend who has fared better at the hands of the electorate. But that then ties them to the fortunes of their patrons. If Theresa May fell, then Gavin Barwell would fall with her. And when David Davis fell, then Stewart Jackson fell with him.

Had Fiona Onasanya been sentenced to 12 months or more, for a traffic infraction with which someone else would never even have been charged, then she would automatically have lost her seat. Hence the attempt, almost certainly doomed anyway since the decision would rest with the Court of Appeal rather than with the Attorney General, to seek a review of her sentence for "undue leniency". Well, if that is to become a political weapon, then bring it on, along with judicial review of decisions to prosecute or not. But in any case, Onasanya still has a live appeal. 

And even if proxy voting is not yet available in these circumstances, if Onasanya cannot be an MP on full pay throughout her six weeks in prison, through pairing (that is, voting only) at Westminster and through leaving the staff to get on with it in the constituency, then how was the Member of Parliament for North West Durham able to do that for six months in the second half of last year? Indeed, she had not been due to return to work until the end of this month. But someone must have made a fuss.

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