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MP Claudia Webbe ‘looking forward to clearing her name’

Claudia Webbe leaving Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Claudia Webbe leaving Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

MP Claudia Webbe “is looking forward to the opportunity to clear her name”, her lawyer has said ahead of her appeal against a conviction for harassment.

The 57-year-old was handed a 10-week jail term, suspended for two years, after she was found guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last November following a trial.

Prosecutors said the former Labour MP for Leicester East, who sits as an independent after being expelled from the party following her conviction, harassed Michelle Merritt because she was jealous of her friendship with Webbe’s boyfriend Lester Thomas.

The court heard she threatened to throw acid at Ms Merritt and reveal naked pictures of her.

Webbe is appealing against her conviction and sentence at Southwark Crown Court, at a hearing in front of Judge Deborah Taylor and two magistrates, which is expected to start on Thursday and last two days.

Mr Thomas, a consultant at Crossrail, football coach, and scout for Chelsea, did not give evidence at the trial and could be called as a witness for the first time.

Raj Chada, a partner at law firm Hodge Jones & Allen – who is representing Claudia Webbe, said: “Ms Webbe continues to maintain her innocence and is looking forward to the opportunity to clear her name.

“Her priority is to continue to serve the people of Leicester East. She will not be answering any further questions at this stage, and asks that her privacy be respected. ”

Labour has previously said the party will push for a recall petition to force a by-election if Webbe does not quit the Commons, but will have to wait until the outcome of her appeal.